Does Brexit give us the opportunity to create a “GB Food” brand and create a positive farming attitude?

19th September 2016

I read with disgust again in the national press today that farmers are being blamed once again for the destruction of the wildlife and loss of biodiversity and bird species in particular. It is worrying that we are still in this culture of blaming the farmers for “destroying” the countryside and no consideration given to what is actually being done to enhance the wildlife habitat. Worryingly, these reports are being published close to the NFU’s Back British Farming Day and the Red Tractor Week but perhaps we need a new direction going forward led by the industry as a whole, rather than individual parties. Brexit surely must be the time at which we need to unite and find a way to act as one market to promote British food and create a real brand that is worth something. The Scots have managed it extremely well as have the New Zealanders, and our industry needs to decide if we wish to work together or continue on this individual basis. I know that Yorkshire as a brand is strong, but are we right to continue to market that, rather than pushing the British brand solely? It’s great for local provenance but we need more than that, we need a global presence going forward.

Clearly Europe are intent on making it as difficult as possible, but now is the chance for us to take the moral high ground, promote our extremely high standards of production and welfare and promote what we are great at doing. Part of this is to promote how good we are at managing the environment that we live and work in. Yes there will always be the odd few that don’t conform as in any industry but ultimately, 99 out of 100 farmers are passionate about where they live and care for the environment as its ultimately their shop floor.

We need to stop the negative feeling towards agriculture within our shores and do more positive promotion to create an industry full of positively and buzz. We work a lot with businesses that are struggling and everyone around them always seems determined to bring the shutters down as soon as possible; from my experience that is not the case, many just need a different approach, new set of eyes and some positivity to get people through the difficult short term. As we are seeing now, price rises in some sectors are happening, taking pressure off businesses yet only a few months ago people were talking doom and gloom!

I think that we need to use our subscriptions and levies much more effectively; follow what others have done successfully and create a strong brand and market demand that encourages trade in and out of our country. We need imports as much as exports, so why not partner with those that want to trade with us. We can learn a lot from our Olympians who use positivity around them to create success and a strong brand at the envy of all their competitors.

For more information or to discuss further contact Louis Fell on 07966 924345 or you can email on louisfell@georgefwhite.co.uk.

X