IFA Mushroom Chairman Gerry Reilly has expressed grave concern regarding the recent sharp devaluation of Sterling. He said this has major repercussions for a sector that exports 90% of its produce to the UK.
“The EUR/GBP exchange rate has now crossed the crucial 90p mark as a result of the continuing uncertainty arising from the Brexit negotiations. Due to the continuation of price wars, and competition from Eastern European imports, UK supermarkets have been reluctant to give price increases to suppliers,” Gerry Reilly said.
The Chairman said, “The sector has already lost a significant number of producers due to the initial impact of Brexit. All growers would have taken measures to mitigate the impact of exchange rate volatility such as hedging. However, at current rates this is not sustainable. Producers are now at breaking point with many more growers also on the brink of closure. The loss of further producers would inevitably threaten the overall future of an industry that accounts for over 3,000 rural jobs and €130m in exports.”
Gerry Reilly called on the Government to directly support the mushroom sector, through the following measures.
- The government must deliver low-cost loans in Budget 2018 that can be accessed by the mushroom sector.
- The government must seek direct support to mushroom producers through CAP Market Support measures. The decline of Sterling, arising from the UK vote, is a market disturbance, which has occurred swiftly and unexpectedly, and has resulted in a significant price fall for the mushroom sector.
- Continued support through the Producer Organisation Scheme is required for the sector.