Brexit ‘complicating food production sector’ – Hogan

Brexit is complicating Ireland’s food production sector.

These were the sentiments expressed by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Phil Hogan who was at Institute of Technology (IT) Tralee on Friday, April 5, for the pre-launch of the new degree programme in International Agricultural Engineering.

Hogan was also part of the EU’s Citizens’ Dialogue where the main topic centered on ‘Future of CAP: Agricultural Technology, Research & Innovation’.

“Brexit is complicating everything there,” he added.

“Brexit of course complicates this whole area; we could be here all day talking about it, but for the moment, we are now waiting for London negotiations to be completed.”

‘Extension to Article 50’

Perhaps somewhat ironically, the commissioner’s sentiments on Friday came at approximately the same time it emerged that Theresa May had written to the EU seeking an extension of three months to Article 50 – until June 30, 2019.

The British prime minister had proposed that the UK leave before the European Parliamentary elections on May 23 – if UK MPs agreed a withdrawal deal in time.

‘Food, markets and production’

Meanwhile, Hogan who spoke in detail about food production during the IT event said it was now being dictated by consumer demand and choice.

“At the end of the day if you don’t have a market there is no point in producing,” he added.

The EU commissioner then pointed out that the more he travelled the world seeking new markets for EU produce, the more apparent it was to him that the consumer was now demanding traceability, quality and sustainability with food.

We ignore this at our peril.

Hogan continued: “If we are serious about achieving our objectives in Ireland around Food Wise 2025 then we must focus on the nine objectives within the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

“We are putting more of a focus now on research, innovation and knowledge transfer and will have a higher ambition in terms of our production as a result. We can all work together to achieve this.”