Witham MP Priti Patel has welcomed the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to the Wilkin and Sons site in Tiptree today.

The Secretary of State toured the site, visiting the jam-making factory and seeing fruit picking on farms before holding discussions with joint managing director Chris Newenham, representatives from the National Farmers Union in Essex and farmers about the future of farming, seasonal workers and food exports.

Ms Patel said: “I am delighted the Secretary of State has come to Tiptree to meet with Wilkin and Sons and farmers to discuss the future of food, farming and agriculture.

"With Britain leaving the EU it is important the Government ensures our farmers and food producers benefit from the changes this will bring about.

"There are some big opportunities to reform the way we support food production with our own domestic replacement for the CAP and a chance to make the sector more competitive and profitable.”

“It is important the Government listens to our views on the future of farming and I was pleased to discuss a number of key issues with the Secretary of State, including the recent announcement on seasonal workers.”

The Secretary of State commented: “It was a pleasure to visit Tiptree Farm today for a valuable discussion with local farmers and businesses about how we can make agriculture as successful and innovative as possible.

“The two-year seasonal pilot announced this week will help farms like this one and ease the workforce pressures felt during the busiest months of the year.

“Our upcoming agriculture bill also provides a golden opportunity to bring farming back under domestic control after almost 50 years under EU rules. We will be saying more on this very shortly.”