Half of agri-industry professionals say Brexit offers some positives for the sector

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and ASA President Mary Delaney.
EU Commissioner Phil Hogan and ASA President Mary Delaney.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

A new survey on Brexit has found that half of agri-industry professionals see Brexit offering some positives for their sector.

The survey, by the Agricultural Science Association, found that 51pc of professionals working with the agri-food industry believe that Brexit could offer a positive opportunity for Ireland.

This figure marks a significant increase in positive sentiment, up 23 percentage points from 28pc in 2016. The findings were released in advance of the annual Agricultural Science Association (ASA) conference.

Of those 51pc of members who believe that Brexit could offer a positive opportunity for the Irish agri-food industry, the following were the main reasons given:

•      Brexit will reduce our dependence on the UK and encourage new market opportunities (37pc)

•      Brexit will mean that Ireland is the only English speaking country in the EU which presents us with an advantage (16pc)

•      Ireland’s unique relationship with the UK will give us an advantage over other EU countries (13pc)

•      Brexit will increase the need for innovation within the industry (12pc)

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It also found that of the biggest challenges facing the industry over the next 10 years more than a third of respondents (36pc) were most concerned about the fallout from Brexit; with a quarter of respondents (25pc) seeing the challenge presented by sustainability as the biggest issue for concern. Other issues raised included concerns around achieving market diversification (16pc) and accessing appropriate labour (10pc) in order to continue to grow the industry.

Speaking in advance of his opening address at the conference, Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said: "The annual ASA Conference is a welcome opportunity for agri-food operators to take stock of their current and future requirements to compete in an ever-changing global environment.

"Europe is the world's leading agri-food trading bloc thanks to our enduring commitment to quality, standards and innovation. I firmly believe we can maintain this competitive advantage if we plan for the future now - taking into account evolving global consumer trends, improving our uptake of innovation and technology in the sector, delivering more sustainable production systems while building stronger trade relationships with our global partners."

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