By Debbie James

With less than three months to go before we leave the European Union we still don’t know what trade deal to expect or if indeed there will be a deal.

Consequently, food and drink producers here in Pembrokeshire are unable to plan because so much of what they do involves imports and exports.

Farmers in Pembrokeshire must already overcome barriers of distance and geography to compete but with tariffs unknown, how can they prepare for a future post-Brexit?

The National Farmers Union has warned that the time lag for approval as an EU food supplier will be catastrophic if no deal is struck.

If there is no deal the health checks that Chinese and US suppliers to the EU undergo will likely be applied to UK exporters of products – including bottled water, honey, jam, dairy and other fresh foods.

Welsh lamb producers are heavily reliant on exports but the government will not be able to do anything to maintain exports in a no-deal scenario, until after the UK officially quits the bloc.

The EU could agree to introduce emergency legislation to keep food from Britain flowing but judging by the firm approach member countries have taken to Brexit that is unlikely.

The agricultural food supply chain between the UK and the EU currently allows agricultural products to be moved across Europe quickly and with limited bureaucracy.

Politicians must therefore pull out all the stops in the coming weeks to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Without it the future of the agricultural food industry is looking very shaky indeed.