From pigs to salmon to yogurt, Britain's farmers and food producers are feeling the effects of Brexit on exports to the European Union.
According to the U.K.'s National Pig Association, increased bureaucracy has caused more than 100,000 pigs to be stuck on British farms, unable to be exported. Tonnes of pork are rotting at European ports due to paperwork hold-ups. That has led the group to warn of a looming emergency and call on major retailers to buy more British bacon.
"The overall picture is now one of enormous disruption to our export supply chain, but of minimal problems and relative ease for E.U. imports into the U.K.," NPA chairman Richard Lister wrote in a letter to the U.K. farm minister George Eustice. "We believe that this is just the start of what will rapidly turn into a crisis for our members if nothing is done to improve their situation."
It's not just the livestock industry that is feeling the impact. The U.K.'s agriculture department set up a compensation fund for fish and shellfish exporters hit by losses because of tighter rules after Brexit. Border disruptions are also hitting the dairy industry, as yogurt makers fret about getting their products to customers in the E.U. in time given new border procedures.
In the wake of Brexit, the U.K.'s agricultural industry may have to spread its bets and increase exports to other markets, including China.
China is the U.K.'s second-largest non-EU trading partner. Bilateral goods trade between the U.K. and China rose to $92.3 billion in 2020 from $50.1 billion in 2010, while China's investments in the U.K. increased nearly 20 times in the period.
Britain has benefited in recent years from China's voracious appetite for red meat. China is the biggest single export destination for U.K. pork, driven mainly by outbreaks of African swine fever in China.
"We consider China to be a very important part of our red meat export portfolio," International Market Development Director Phil Hadley from Britain's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) told Xinhua.