Irish Examiner view: Brexit offers opportunity for food producers

Irish Examiner view: Brexit offers opportunity for food producers

We produce some of the best food in the world.

There are times when a problem can be an opportunity. All it takes is courage, hard work, and a little imagination. 

For years now we have been warned that Brexit would lead to shortages of food and other products on Irish supermarket shelves. 

Indeed, a year before she was appointed home secretary by British PM Boris Johnson, arch-Brexiteer Priti Patel urged her Government to use the possibility of food shortages in Ireland as a negotiating ploy in order to secure a better deal with the EU. Her comments drew widespread criticism both here and in Britain.

Even with a last-minute deal achieved, Brexit remains a challenge both for exporters and importers. 

New border controls that came into effect when the UK’s departure from the EU came into effect on December 31 have delayed food and other imports into the State and have led to shortages on the food shelves of some Irish outlets of UK supermarket chains. 

Food and transport firms have complained of delays in transporting food consignments from Britain.

As it stands, more than half of the total food imported into Ireland comes from the UK, but we can — and should — change that. 

As anyone who has been to a farmers’ market lately can tell you, we produce some of the best food in the world so we should not have to rely on British imports. 

This is an opportunity for food producers to make more and sell more at home. We can have our cake and eat it.

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