Optimism and Threats in Ireland’s Agri-Food Sector
The agri-food industry continues to be a crucial part of the Irish economy. It accounts for 7.6% of Ireland’s economy-wide GVA, over 10% of total exports with a Gross Agricultural Output (GAO) was valued at €6.92 billion in 2016 and employs 8.6% of the workforce.
The agri-food industry is dealing with a range of problems from climate-change, rising costs, and the uncertainty around Brexit.
The implications of Brexit for the agri-food sector of Ireland could be catastrophic. Additional tariffs on exports to the UK could seriously damage trade (€2 billion decreases in meat and dairy exports). If UK supermarkets decide to stock cheaper non-EU products to avoid the tariffs, then the agri-food sector in Ireland will suffer enormously.
Investments in the Ag-Tech industry will have a significantly positive impact on the agri-food industry in Ireland.
The Finistere Group and the Ireland Strategic Investment fund have announced the birth of the ‘Ireland Ag-Tech Fund’, which plans on investing into Ag-Tech start-ups. The fund of €20 million together with the existing ingredients for success in the Irish agri-food sector can accumulate to achieve economic growth.
“All the ingredients are here – a longstanding, export-oriented agri-food industry; world-leading research at Irish universities and institutions, such as Teagasc” – Finistere’s Kieran Furlong
The agri-food industry in Ireland is faced with threats and opportunities. The main negative is the implications of Brexit on the industry, while there is also well-founded optimism for the industry due to the influx of investments into Ag-Tech.
Ag-Tech investments together with the future planning of EU/Irish-based invectives and associations, are positive developments for the industry, which can improve the growth and bring sustainability to the sector.