Bord Bia: What does ‘good’ Brexit preparation look like?

Preparation for a hard Brexit is ramping up among Irish companies in the agri-food sector, according to Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.

Speaking to AgriLand following the announcement of the Bord Bia Brexit Barometer 2019 results on Wednesday, June 26, McCarthy said:

“The results show an industry that is accelerating its level of preparation with regard to a hard-deal Brexit.

“You can see that supply chains have been mapped; that financial resilience has been reflected upon, you can see that customers are being talked to.

“What we’re now looking to do is go and really focus on the next level of actions. So while preparation is absolutely core, plans are written, now it’s a case of signing up and making decisions to that.”

The CEO noted that Bord Bia is intensifying workshops to help companies, as well as signing companies up with the Department of Agriculture’s register of Brexit-affected firms.

McCarthy said that Bord Bia has been targeting smaller and micro companies which are importing to the UK, such as farm enterprises, outlined how, by knowing what one’s peers and similar sized companies are doing, Irish firms can gain a better insight into bench-marking and finding out what “good preparation” looks like.

“From the results we know exactly who’s responded; companies have acknowledged with us who’s responded and that allows us to target with them – but it also gives them a backdrop to them to the benchmark reports so that they can see where they fit with regard to their peers.

“So you may have a small business who says ‘Oh sure I don’t have to do anything; nobody my size is doing anything’.

But when they see that 80% of their peers are doing something, it’s the moment to get active.

“That’s why this is a three-tiered approach: number one, gather the data; number two, provide the action plans; – but number three, help you do a peer review to make sure that you’re aware of the circumstances you’re operating in and what ‘good’ looks like in those circumstances.”