Irish Brussels sprouts exported to the UK for the first time ever

Recent weeks have seen the first exports ever of Irish Brussels sprouts arriving in the UK, according to IFA Fresh Produce Development Officer Pat Farrell.

Sprout production in the UK has been hit by a combination of extreme weather conditions and a range of pest and disease attacks on crops, he said.

“Many parts of mainland Europe have been similarly affected. The end result was a demand for Irish sprouts from UK buyers.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time that sprouts grown on this country have been sent to the UK. Thankfully, Irish growers had not the same weather and disease-related problems to cope with this year.”

Farrell added that the exports took place at a time when the euro was trading at a value of 90c against Sterling.

The fact that exports could be made a feasible option at that exchange rate reflected the strength of demand for sprouts from UK buyers at that time.

“These exports have led to a general shortage of Irish sprouts in the run-up to Christmas, which should bode well for producer prices over the coming weeks.”

The IFA representative confirmed that the prospects for carrot and parsnip prices are also buoyant at the present time.

“Supply and demand is one factor but, increasingly, Irish consumers want to buy home grown produce.

“These factors make it all the less probable that the supermarkets will not start to sell fresh produce at below cost of production prices, as was the case a number of years ago.

“It is also significant that the discounters are now selling more home grown produce across the board.”

Farrell said that the IFA will be hosting an unfair trading practices’ seminar next Wednesday – November 30. The venue is the Carlton Hotel at Dublin Airport. Speakers will include IFA president Joe Healy and the UK supermarket adjudicator Christine Tacon.

“IFA has been pushing Brussels to introduce a supermarket adjudicator with EU-wide powers,” Farrell said.