CARLOW farmers are bracing themselves for the ‘nightmare situation’ of a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit.
The rise of Boris Johnson to prime minister has put the UK on course to leave the EU without a deal on 31 October. Carlow IFA chairperson George Collier said that the county’s beef farmers would be left devastated if it comes to pass, with a weak sterling already hitting the bottom line.
Some 1,100 of the 1,800 farmers in Carlow have a beef enterprise.
“A No-Deal Brexit will be disastrous for us as farmers, especially beef farmers. Over half our beef is going to the UK, so we are already under serious pressure. We will see a total devastation of the beef sector if no deal happens. We’d need huge support from Europe if that were to happen.”
He added: “There is huge apprehension. The beef sector is already losing money. There is a fierce fear and depression in the beef industry the way things are going. It’s hard to see it being sustainable.”
Mr Collier did not believe the necessary contingencies were in place in case of this nightmare scenario. The beef industry is making efforts to develop other markets for Irish beef, but this could not be done overnight
“The reality is the UK is a very good market and it’s going to take time to replace that. It’s a well-paying market, whereas others aren’t as much,” he said. “We have been listening for three years of a soft Brexit and now of all sudden we are facing a nightmare scenario in three months.”
Chairman of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee Pat Deering has called on all agricultural stakeholders to ensure they have taken the necessary steps to prepare for a No Deal Brexit. Deputy Deering said that while the government is doing everything in its power to prevent a ‘no-deal’ scenario, agri-food businesses, traders and hauliers of agricultural commodities must ensure they have plans in place.
Deputy Deering said: “Make sure you are registered with Revenue and the department, make sure you know what documents and certificates you have to submit, to whom you have to submit them and what are the time limits for submission. Decide who is going to be responsible for the submission of documents and certificates – you or a customs agent.”
Deputy Deering said a business must engage with the agriculture department if it moves animals, plants or both to or from the UK and received a letter from Revenue outlining the necessity to register for an EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) number. This would help ensure requirements for importing or exporting such commodities from and to the UK.
He added: “All goods traders who use wood pallets or wood packaging for the movement of goods to or from the UK should ensure that their wood packaging meets the ISPM 15 standard and is clearly stamped as meeting that standard.”
The Department of Agriculture will have a presence at agricultural shows, including the Tullamore National Livestock Show, the Virginia Agricultural Show as well as at the National Ploughing Championships for those seeking information. It will also hold events in September, engaging directly with individuals and businesses. Details will be published on the department’s website in the coming weeks.
Deputy Deering said: “There is no hiding from the fact that a No Deal Brexit would be a challenge and would impact on trade.”