Norfolk agribusiness expert chairs global meeting

Chris Solt
Chris Solt, Partner for Chris Solt

A global meeting of finance experts working in the agricultural and food sectors, chaired by a leading Norfolk agricultural accountant, has highlighted the many challenges faced by the agribusiness sector in an uncertain world environment, including the need for young farmers to replace aging farmers, the impact of immigration policies on the industry, and the importance of education and training programs.

Chris Solt, Partner for Chris Solt

The HLB International Agriculture, Food and Beverages meeting, which was chaired by Lovewell Blake partner Chris Solt, also focussed on the impact of globalisation on businesses and the need for cutting-edge technology to stay competitive, as well as the importance of adapting to changing environmental and social expectations while maintaining profitability.

Many of these global concerns are equally relevant to agricultural businesses in East Anglia, according to Mr Solt. 

“It was interesting to hear from agri-finance experts throughout the world, who are all facing the same kind of challenges as farmers closer to home,” said Mr Solt. 

“Issues surrounding succession, economic sustainability – particularly for smaller farms – and uncertainty about how to meet pressing environmental issues at the same time as producing food profitably, are all too familiar to those in the agricultural and food and drink business in our part of the world.

“All of this is in the context of global and local political uncertainty, with important elections taking place right across the world this year.  Farmers are seeking certainty and stability when it comes to taxes, financial support and environmental legislation, but in many parts of the world – as in the UK – what they are actually faced with is delayed decisions and uncertainty.”

Mr Solt is Global Leader of HLB International’s Agriculture, Food and Beverages Industry Group, with delegates from North and South America, Europe and Asia taking part in the conference.

“It was striking just how much all of those parts of the world have in common when it comes to the challenges facing agribusinesses,” he said.  “It is clear from the conference that agribusinesses need to be adaptable and innovative in order to succeed in today's rapidly changing landscape.”

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