Wales politics

No-deal Brexit 'bad news' for Welsh food and drink sector

White plate on a table painted with the Welsh flag Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Food and drink producers are probably not ready for the prospect of no-deal Brexit, it is claimed

A no-deal Brexit would be "extremely bad news" for the food and drink sector in Wales, an industry leader has said.

It follows UK government warnings that the impact would be "more pronounced" on UK food producers outside England.

It was "likely to be felt strongly" by the Welsh lamb sector, with 92% of exports going to the EU.

Andy Richardson, chairman of the Food and Drink Industry Wales Board, said small firms did not have the ability to respond to last-minute developments.

"I don't think you can prepare enough," he said.

"In Wales, we've got a lot of small and medium-sized businesses who just don't have the capabilities and resources to be able to plan enough and react to information that's coming out at the last minute."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There are fears for Welsh lamb exports, of which 92% go to the EU

In its assessment, the UK government warned the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the UK's food and drink sector "would be more pronounced in Wales, Scotland, and particularly Northern Ireland, where the sector comprises 5.07% of the economy, compared to 1.38% for England".

Ahead of an event to promote Welsh produce in Manchester to mark St David's Day, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths warned of the prospect of a "disorderly Brexit" in 29 days' time.

She added: "Working with the sector, we must promote the Welsh brand as much as possible and do all we can to ensure our food and drink producers are able to thrive post-Brexit."

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