Tipperary farm leader calls for measures to protect local agri-sector from Brexit

Brexit

There have been calls to protect Tipperary famers from the worst of the fallout from last week's UK Brexit referendum.

With Sterling plummeting, there are fears that farmers could bear the brunt of any down side to the UK's decision to quit the EU.

Ireland exports almost €5bn in farm produce to Britaineach year, with a sizeable amount of that coming from Tipperary farmers.

“Plans need to be put in place to protect farmers,” said Tipperary ICMSA chair Seamus Troy.

While the short term focus in likely to be on exchange rates, he said: “The reality is that, in the past, food processors have simply passed back the impact of negative exchange rate movements and we now need to see our Farm Council take measures to protect farmers rather than food processors, who have well insulated themselves in the past. Farmers are already in a prolonged income crisis and cannot be expected to take additional punishment.”

Meanwhile, IFA President Joe Healy has said that the market uncertainty arising from the UK vote to leave the EU must be met by a strong commitment from Government to support farm incomes in Budget 2017.

Speaking in advance of the National Economic Dialogue at Dublin Castle this Monday, he said: “2016 is already an extremely difficult year for farm incomes. With low product prices across many sectors, the fall in the value of sterling against the euro is a further blow for exporting sectors. For Irish agriculture and the agri-food sector, with 40% of our agri-food exports going to the UK, and a shared land border, the implications of the decisions to leave will be significant. It is critical that steps are taken by Governments and institutions within Ireland, the UK and the EU to provide the reassurances that will minimise uncertainty and stabilise exchange rates”.