Farmers & Agri-food sector left in limbo as Brexit looms

Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo and Spokesperson on Brexit Lisa Chambers says farmers and agri-businesses in Mayo are becoming increasingly worried about the lack of solutions being put forward by government as Brexit fast approaches.

Deputy Chambers met with key stakeholders in the agri-food sector earlier this week to discuss their concerns ahead of the March 29th deadline.

“Farmers and agri-food producers in Mayo are genuinely worried about the lack of contingency plans in place.  There’s only two months until the UK is due to leave the EU, and even in the event of an orderly Brexit measures will still be needed to support the sector”, said Deputy Chambers.

“Agri-food businesses in Mayo are hugely exposed to Brexit.  Not only are there the larger agri companies, there are dozens of smaller, artisan food producers who do not have the financial resources to deal with a major shock.

“These companies have worked incredibly hard to build up their reputations and earn their place on UK shelves.  Any disruption to the East-West supply chain could see Irish, locally sourced products lose their market share and be replaced with products from other countries.

“The government is leaving these companies in limbo.  There is a complete lack of communication when it comes to Brexit planning.  There is still no clarity on the landbridge, alternative shipping routes to continental Europe or the capacity of our ships to manage additional freight.  How can our businesses attempt to plan ahead if they do not even have access to the most basic information?

“A plan after the event is not a plan at all, and there is a real fear that supports and solutions post March 29th will be too little too late.  We need to see a path forward now to minimise risk to the agri-sector post Brexit day in March,” concluded Deputy Chambers.