Farmers have said that it is "very, very difficult for the NFU to show any support" for a much-lauded free trade deal that the Prime Minister has agreed with New Zealand.

The deal was sealed last night (October 20) and is being pitched by the UK government as a "boost" to British exporters as both countries "ditch tariffs and cut red tape".

However, the NFU was quick to point out that UK farmers will now face "significant extra volumes of imported food - whether or not produced to our own high standards - while securing almost nothing in return for UK farmers."

NFU president Minette Batters went on to say: "We should all be worried that there could be a huge downside to these deals, especially for sectors such as dairy, red meat and horticulture.

“The fact is that UK farm businesses face significantly higher costs of production than farmers in New Zealand and Australia, and it’s worth remembering that margins are already tight here due to ongoing labour shortages and rising costs on farm.

"The government is now asking British farmers to go toe-to-toe with some of the most export orientated farmers in the world, without the serious, long-term and properly funded investment in UK agriculture that can enable us to do so."

Prime Minster Boris Johnson appears to share none of those concerns. He said: "This is a great trade deal for the United Kingdom, cementing our long friendship with New Zealand and furthering our ties with the Indo-Pacific.

"It will benefit businesses and consumers across the country, cutting costs for exporters and opening up access for our workers.

"This is a fantastic week for Global Britain."

The NFU points out that this deal will benefit New Zealand's farmers while disadvantaging the UK's own.

Ms Batters said: “It’s incredibly worrying that we’ve heard next to nothing from government about how it will work with farming to achieve this.

"This is why it is very, very difficult for the NFU to show any support for these deals.

"They involve significant upsides for farmers on the other side of the world who can now access our hugely valuable market but contain little discernible benefit for UK producers, either at home or overseas.

"This could damage the viability of many British farms in the years ahead, to the detriment of the public, who want more British food on their shelves, and to the detriment of our rural communities and cherished farmed landscapes.

“Instead of repeating the refrain that these deals will be good for British agriculture, our government now needs to explain how these deals will tangibly benefit farming, the future of food production and the high standards that go along with it on these shores.”