Dutch PM warns farmers to prepare for Brexit

Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned the Dutch agriculture and horticulture sector to prepare for a so-called hard Brexit - the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without signing a trade agreement. After months of talks between the EU and the UK, the parties are not yet close to an agreement, NU.nl reports.

"Keep the option in mind that it won't succeed", Rutte said. The British government plans to leave the EU on April 1st, 2019.

In the worst case scenario, Britain may impose hefty import duties on products from the EU. It is also not certain whether quality marks will still apply after the Brexit, and how customs controls will be carried out. 

The United Kingdom is one of the Dutch agriculture and horticulture sector's biggest buyers. Last year 10 percent of all Dutch agriculture exports went to the UK, amounting to around 6.1 billion euros.