Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Brexit can drive positive change for Irish exporters - Bord Bia

Bord Bia's CEO Tara McCarthy.
Bord Bia's CEO Tara McCarthy.

Farming Independent Team

Eight out of 10 exporters believe there is potential for future growth in the UK market post-Brexit, Bord Bia has found.

Yet almost a third of companies have little or no experience in dealing with regulations relating to exporting or importing goods from non-EU countries.

Bord Bia's Tara McCarthy said Brexit would require new skills and approaches for the food and drink industry's €4bn trade with the UK.

According to Bord Bia's Brexit Barometer, which assessed the risks of Brexit with 139 food and drinks companies, over 80pc believe there are viable alternative markets for their products. However, there will be challenges for the beef and cheddar cheese sectors.

One of the key issues highlighted was the potential impact of increased travel times due to customs issues for short shelf-life products.

"Notwithstanding the challenges ahead, I believe Brexit can be a catalyst for real, positive change within the industry and Bord Bia," said Ms McCarthy.

Exports account for 71pc of total revenue in the dairy sector, with the UK market contributing 44pc of the export value. Identifying alternative markets of scale for cheddar was a key concern. Companies in the beef sector felt there were opportunities to grow sales in the UK.

Some 22pc of lamb exports go to the UK, with 72pc destined for a diverse range of other EU countries.

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Companies found the UK market was competitive and susceptible to price-based switching, but there were opportunities to build stronger links with customers.

However, they warned a hard border would impact on live exports from Northern Ireland, with 380,000 sheep exported from the North to Irish plants each year, accounting for 3-17pc of throughput.

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