Brexit and its impact on the agri-food industry will be under the spotlight at this week’s meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine.

The committee will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, December 8) to discuss Brexit and its impact with five key stakeholder organisations to appear across two separate sessions.

Tomorrow’s meeting in Committee Room 4 will begin with the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA), and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) appearing from 4:00pm.

At 5:00pm, Meat Industry Ireland (MII), Dairy Industry Ireland (DII) and the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) will appear.

The INHFA was established in February 2015 to represent farmers on hill designated and environmentally valuable land.

The IFA is Ireland’s largest farming representative organisation and represents Irish farmers at home and in Europe. Meanwhile, ICOS leads the co-operative movement in Ireland.

MII and DII are Ibec’s sector associations – the former represents the beef, lamb, pigmeat and poultry processing sectors, while the latter represents the interests of Ireland’s primary and secondary dairy processors, including the specialised nutrition sector.

Ahead of the meeting, committee chair Jackie Cahill said:

“With three weeks to go until the UK leaves the EU, it is very important that irrespective of the Brexit which is delivered, our agri-food industry continues to prosper. Tuesday’s witnesses are well-placed to assess the challenges and opportunities which exist for our food producers.

The agri-food sector in Ireland contributes hugely to our exports, and employment indirectly and directly with the agri-food sector accounts for almost 10% of overall employment.

“It really is a thriving sector of our economy, and clearly we export much food and seafood to every corner of the globe.

“During previous Dáil terms, this committee worked intensively on matters associated with Brexit, and the topic is very much part of our work programme as December 31 nears,” Cahill concluded.