The agri-businessmen going multinational in response to Brexit
The headlines around Brexit are invariably gloomy, with various levels of economic Armageddon predicted for Irish business, and agriculture in particular.
However, there are some agribusinesses who see opportunity rather than oblivion in the new order that Brexit beckons.
Leslie Codd started his fledgling mushroom business with his brother Raymond back in the 1980s.
In the intervening 30 years the horticultural enterprise has grown into the largest supplier of mushrooms on the Irish market. Codd Mushrooms now employs 225 people at what is one of Ireland's largest mushroom units just outside Tullow. However, the number for the entire enterprise is set to jump to 400 over the next 12 months as Leslie and his team roll out plans to develop another growing site in the UK.
"Most Irish farmers tend not to think of themselves as ever becoming multinational operations but for us it has just become the next logical step," says Codd.
Unlike most Irish mushroom operations, Codds avoided the British market by concentrating on the domestic one on their doorstep.
However, with their mushrooms now accounting for over half of all the Irish market, they are forced to look elsewhere for continued growth. And while the British market was always going to be a logical next step, Brexit has forced the Irish company down a very definite route.
"The British consumer has always been a big supporter of British grown food and we see that clearly in the strength of brands like the Red Tractor. But if they were patriotic before Brexit, they are going to be doubly patriotic now as they perceive that they are having to fend for themselves," explains Codd. "And the big retailers have already reacted. Look at the likes of Aldi and the Co-op who have already declared that all their mushrooms will only be sourced from Britain."