IFA President Tim Cullinan addressed the members of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development today, highlighting the ongoing challenge and impact of Brexit on Irish and European agriculture.
In his capacity as First Vice-President of Copa, Tim Cullinan raised the administrative burden; the increased cost; the uncertainty; and potential lost market share from fully liberalised agriculture trade with the UK market.
“Speaking as an Irish farmer, Brexit represents cost, complexity and uncertainty, something farmers and businesses can do without. Nonetheless, these are the realities we now face in the aftermath of Brexit and the new EU/UK trade relationships, which we are yet to fully experience,” he said.
The IFA President referenced the strong financial performance of the agri sector in 2021, and the presence of UK concessions, especially those relating to Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods, which are due to expire through 2022.
On the specific barriers to trade which will impact farmers in the EU and the UK, he called for swift political solutions and intervention.
“Our farmers face a lack of seed potatoes in the coming planting season so a pragmatic solution must be found. We are not encouraged that one is forthcoming in the near term. We need swift political solutions, otherwise it’s farm families that will suffer. Farmers cannot be left carrying the can and absorbing the full cost of Brexit,” he said.
Finally, welcoming the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, Tim Cullinan said it’s essential, similar to the redistribution of funds among Member States, that those economic sectors most effected from Brexit, like agriculture, secure its fair share of allocated funding.
“This is not guaranteed within existing Regulations, and the relatively positive financial performance in any year of the reference period (2020-2023) should not prevent access to the necessary investment to respond to the new controls and challenges in the future.”