Measures will be deployed to mitigate against Brexit impact on farmers

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has indicated this week that he had discussions with the European Commission in relation to the supports that will be required for the agri-food sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The minister also pointed to the fact that he met with the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan to discuss matters.

Yesterday, Monday, April 8, during a press conference, the commissioner admitted that while a no-deal Brexit would be the “worst of outcomes”, a contingency plan was in place for when the UK made its departure.

Meanwhile, Creed said he was confident that EU support measures would be deployed “to help mitigate against the impact on farmers, fishermen and businesses in the sector”.

Irish agri-food exports have proven their ability to compete on EU and international markets.

He continued: “With the value of total agri-food exports having increased by 78% in value between 2009 and 2018 – from €7.8 billion to €13.9 billion – it is a growth that has been driven by the strong reputation Irish product has in meeting the highest standards of food safety and animal welfare, quality and nutrition.”

The minister went on to say that third country markets also formed an increasing proportion of total agri-food exports.

He pointed out that in 2018 approximately 27% of the country’s agri-food exports were to non-EU markets.

This, Creed continued, represented a marked increase from 2009 when they accounted for 20% of the value of exports.

Half of our export growth since 2010 has come from markets outside Europe.

The minister continued: “This has been led by a sixfold increase in exports to China, a doubling to the rest of Asia and North America and a rise of 40% in trade to the Middle East and Africa.”

He then pointed out that the development of new markets, and the growth of existing markets, based on market insights, is one of the five themes of Food Wise 2025, the 10-year strategy for the agri-food sector.

“Market development and diversification is also a key response to the challenges which Brexit poses for agri-food and, in particular, the beef sector.

“In 2018, a number of additional markets were opened by the department, including the Chinese beef market, following years of sustained effort. There has also been an enhanced programme of Government agri-food trade missions to key new markets.”