By Lauren Entwistle
STALL-HOLDERS at Horsforth’s monthly farmers’ market say they are worried Brexit may harm their trade.
The worries surfaced after Parliament voted through the bill to give Prime Minister Theresa May the power to trigger Article 50 last week.
Many farmers are worried that leaving the EU will pose a number of problems, such as a cut in support from the ‘Common Agricultural Policy’ – which makes up 55 per cent of British farming income.
Graham Fergusson, a committee member of ‘Horsforth Churches Together’ which organises the market, said: “A few of our stallholders are uncertain what is going to happen.
“Although it’s early days, I can’t imagine Brexit to be a bonus.
“One of our stallholders is worried that it will lead to the relaxing of EU regulations affecting GM crops to a much lower level, such as the involvement of pesticides, which will cause problems with his bees and honey produce.”
Horsforth Farmer’s Market celebrated its tenth birthday last October and aims to support and showcase local producers, involve the community and help the environment.
All stalls and produce are sourced within 13 miles of Horsforth to avoid creating a large carbon footprint, with the exception of fresh fish from Grimsby.
The main concern of local producers was the possible restriction of fruits, vegetables and other imports from the EU, which are heavily relied upon as ingredients when local produce is out of season.
If Article 50 is triggered, the prices to buy imports will rise dramatically for both producer and consumer.
Alison Waterhouse, who owns ‘The Seasonal-Larder”, a Garforth-based business specialising in home-made jams and cordials, said: “I have spoken to the local farmers that I work with and they are all still slightly apprehensive on it.”
FACT FILE on The Common Agricultural Policy:
- The EU agriculture section has roughly 11 million farms, providing work for around 22 million agri-workers.
- It was set up in 1957 to sustain the EU’s food supplies by boosting agricultural productivity – with CAP now providing monetary support to over 12 million farmers.The scheme runs in two sectors, in direct payments and also in funding to the wider rural economy.
- Over £2.4 billion was paid to British farmers in 2015 in direct payments.
- Farming Minister George Eustace told the NFC conference that subsidies could still be opted once Britain leaves the EU, from £18 billion which would come from a “Brexit dividend”.
- The House of Commons Library has stated that Brexit will cause farming income to be cut due to the lack of CAP subsides.