Brexit poses 'a sobering challenge for the dairy industry' - Glanbia chief
The "sobering challenge" posed by Brexit to the Irish economy was highlighted yesterday when the boss of Glanbia Ireland outlined a dramatic fall-off in the incomes of dairy farmers.
Citing its impact on one just one of its eight plants, chief executive Jim Bergin said the Brexit vote and subsequent decline in the value of sterling has wiped €17m from the rural hinterland surrounding the Glanbia's newly revamped Wexford cheese plant.
The investment of €35m in the milk processor's newly unveiled facility, alongside plans to invest €160m at its plant in Belview, Co Kilkenny, are part of a two-pronged approach to hedge against market difficulties.
Mr Bergin warned the effects of Brexit could turn into a "crisis situation", and he urged Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to continue his work on alleviating difficulties for the farming sector.
"The sober element of this is that the €111m that we pay out from here, already in terms of sterling weakness has been reduced by 15pc, that is €17m to the farmers of Wexford before Brexit kicks in.
"Every day we hope for a positive outcome," he said.
Mr Creed said Ireland was now trading in a challenging international environment, with talk of 'trade wars' from the US White House.
"Trade wars are difficult and nobody wins. Certainly it would be a spiral downwards if we got dragged into a situation where food becomes one of these retaliatory products in a global trade war," he said.