it's been a while since I've done my weekly blog post, as I've been somewhat overwhelmed of late with this & that. The number of orders has remained good so thanks goes out for that to all, old & new, who order & support Vegetropolis!
Like it or not, in one form or another (notwithstanding we may yet negotiate a delay, kicking the proverbial can down the road a ways) Brexit will be upon us soon.
Media talk is of warehouses being packed to capacity with non perishable/longer shelf life goods. This of course applies to the wholefoods side of my business & I would imagine that Suma Wholefoods (whom I buy off) would be taking this precaution.
On the perishable side (especially as this time of year dictates) a lot of organic produce is imported from the EU. I have spoken to my principal supplier and have gathered that they have been advised to register as an importer themselves - Importers would be looking at employing a customs broker, freight forwarder or logistics provider or obtaining software & authorisations from HMRC, both of which come at a cost. They have heard from EU lorry drivers that in the event of a no deal Calais is not in any way equipped to be a port that could handle carrying out the customs checks that would need to be carried out. Here
is the official .gov.uk website take on no deal trading with the EU from Aug 2018.
Arrangements have just this past week been announced by HMG regarding the movement of goods to and from the EU. A simplified import and export system has been implemented by HMRC – in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario – as a mechanism to ensure that goods move to and from the UK, with a lower administrative burden for businesses, in terms of the documentation required at the port of entry and exit. Additionally, it is intended to make it easier for businesses who import from the EU using roll on roll off (RO-RO) facilities through Calais & the channel tunnel.
With regard to Brexit and it's effect on U.K. Organic growers, farmers that my principal supplier uses, have been scaling back production on crops that rely on hand labour to harvest such as soft fruit because there is a definite decline in the number of migrant workers in the U.K. to pick these crops (many have returned home). Which will mean a less supply, same demand scenario leading to higher prices. Whether British workers will step into the breach remains to be seen, but the farmers do see this as unlikely as Brits haven't hitherto really been willing to do this type of work. If crops are not being grown it would take more than a year for plants to crop again should a viable crop picking workforce become available again.
With regard to the reversion to WTO (World Trade Organisation) rules in a No Deal scenario, we are in fact already a member of the WTO & it seems that rates are likely to be 3% but could be higher for agricultural products, how much higher doesn't seem clear. It is though a misunderstanding to talk of "WTO Tariffs because WTO does not
itself determine tariff rates, it does not
require member countries to charge tariffs on their imports. Quite the reverse. Governments apply tariffs to imported goods exclusively at their own initiative and for their own reasons, mostly to protect domestic manufacturers of the products concerned against competition, but also for other reasons like revenue-raising or protection of public health. The central mission of the WTO, has been to reduce,
and where possible eliminate,
tariffs and other barriers to trade through voluntary negotiation between the sovereign governments who are its members." - taken from this article.
So whether there will be price rises & whether there will be disruption in supply from the EU I do not know. Personally I think the dust will settle & the organic industry will ultimately emerge stronger because organic growers will adapt & thrive. Let's face it countries trade now worldwide & will continue to do so, a lot of the stuff in the press just seems to be worst case scenario scaremongering!
Wednesday: Aston, Castle Vale, City Centre, Erdington, Handsworth, Handsworth Wood, Jewellery Quarter, Sutton Coldfield, Witton.
Thursday: Bearwood, Bournville, Cotteridge, Edgbaston, Harborne, Kings Norton, Longbridge, Quinton, Selly Oak, Smethwick, Stirchley.
Acocks Green, Hall Green, Highgate, Hodge Hill, Kings Heath, Lee Bank, Moseley, Sheldon, Shirley, Small Heath, Solihull, Stechford.
Once again, If your area of Birmingham is not featured, just send in your order & I'll inform you which day to expect your delivery.