The Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) has hit out at the EU and UK for failing to address the many issues still disrupting farm businesses as a result of the imposition of the NI Protocol.
Included within the list of issues is the difficulty bringing pedigree livestock back to NI that have been taken to shows or sale in Britain, the requirement to re-tag livestock originating in Britain and moved to NI, and controls relating to the movement of soil.
The most recent issue is a requirement for arable seed coming to NI from Britain to be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.
“Farmers have been left high and dry since the implementation of the NI Protocol. It has caused constant chaos in various trade areas that are a key part of many farm businesses across NI and yet very little has been done to address the issues” said UFU President Victor Chestnutt.
Farming’s issues weren’t covered and are still very real
While the UK government has unilaterally extended the grace periods for retail goods and eased rules around the movement of plants and used agricultural machinery, Chestnutt points out that farmers have largely been overlooked.
“Farming’s issues weren’t covered and are still very real,” he said.
He outlined how the UFU has lobbied UK and EU officials on the issues, and remain supportive of the UK and EU ultimately aligning on agri-food standards to minimise trade friction.
In the meantime, while the EU has moved to implement various checks from 1 January 2021, this has not been reciprocated in the other direction.
Last week, the UK government announced that it would be delaying the introduction of border checks on EU goods for a further six months.