Speaking at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board’s (AHDB’s) Global Britain: Exploring Agricultural Export Opportunities event this week, Fox outlined the UK’s significance as a global leader in the agritech sector.
“As well as commodities, we can also sell knowledge. We are a cutting-edge agritech economy and there are a lot of global producers that want to use our expertise. So, selling our services will be as important as selling our goods into many of those markets.
“We are very keen to push in the knowledge economy that Britain’s shelves are already stacked with, in terms of our capabilities and know-how.”
Regardless of the UK’s position in March 2019, there would still be an increasing demand for UK food and drink, said Fox. He argued it was the perceived quality of British exports that drew the attention of countries like China.
“Some people say we should cut our standards to enable us to sell more overseas. I don’t believe that for a moment. I think people buy British because of our high standards, I think they buy because of our high regulatory standards and that is one of the things that we must maintain as we move forward.
‘High quality end of the market’
“We are never, as an economy, going to be able to compete with the low-cost, low-quality end of the market. We need to be at the high-quality end of the market and that’s something people associate with the British brand. Were we to surrender that, we might never recover it, so it is something we need to maintain as a country.”
However, Fox did warn attendees not to bite off more than they could chew if they didn’t have the capabilities to meet export demand.
“There’s no point in finding market opportunities, if the UK can’t supply those markets,” he said. “There’s no point in us increasing production if we can’t find the markets to sell into.”