There are “very profound” levels of anxiety among Irish farmers following the Brexit vote, according to ICMSA deputy president Pat McCormack.
He was commenting after an Irish Examiner / ICMSA farm poll showed that 8o per cent of Irish farmers said Brexit would impact on their prices.
Mr McCormack further stated that there were concerns over the maintenance of Ireland's historic and absolutely vital food exports to the UK market.
Policymakers should be particularly concerned by the levels of farmers - 38 per cent - who confirmed that they would be cancelling or postponing planned farm investment on foot of the Brexit decision, said the Tipp Town farmer.
He said that the uncertainty was causing severe dislocation throughout Irish farming and given that the UK was not expected to trigger Article 50 until next spring, that uncertainty looked set to continue with a danger of it becoming even more pervasive.
He said that there were, however, certain action the Government could and should take, and the first of those was to send a clear and unambiguous signal to our EU partners that Ireland’s multi-billion euro food trade with the UK must not become ‘caught in any crossfire’ between the EU and UK as the exit negotiations developed
Secondly, Mr McCormack stated that that all talks on trade agreements, such as TTIP and Mercosur, must be parked immediately and for the duration of the Brexit negotiations and only then resumed on the basis of the UK’s departure and the interests of the remaining 27 member states.
Finally, Mr McCormack said that the upcoming Budget provided an opportunity to reaffirm the Government’s commitment to our biggest indigenous economic and exporting sector and farmers would particularly look to the volatility-curbing Farm Management Deposit Scheme as a timely and acute response to the challenges that no one could not doubt were now facing our farming and agri-food sectors.