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IFA President Tim Cullinan said the performance of food exports in 2020 was based on a strong farmer foundation.

“Despite hugely disruptive circumstances, the farming and food sector delivered for the Irish economy over the last 12 months, maintaining our presence in international markets at almost the same value. By any measure, this is an impressive performance built on the resilience of our farmers,” he said.

Tim Cullinan said 2021 will also pose challenges for the sector and the response will have to be robust if we are to improve the incomes of those who are most vulnerable in the food chain.

“While we avoided a ‘no deal’ Brexit, farmers are exposed to a variety of issues – sterling fluctuations, logistical problems and trade difficulties – and we have to prepare for this,” he said.

Today’s figures from Bord Bia show that one-third of our exports go to the UK market. “We have to redouble our efforts to diversify the destination of what we produce to insulate ourselves from economic shocks,” he said.