Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Food, Fisheries and Horticulture Jackie Cahill says the outcome of the EU Referendum in Britain presents an enormous challenge for horticulture farmer’s right across Ireland. The Tipperary TD has called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to ensure that the interests of horticulture farmers are put forward during the Brexit negotiations.

Deputy Cahill said, “The latest figures made available by the Department of Agriculture show that the horticulture sector contributed close to €400m in farm output in 2015. The sector is a huge part of our overall agriculture economy and it is estimated that 6,000 people are employed full time in primary production with an additional 10,000 jobs relying on the sector.

“The horticulture sector has been under immense pressure in recent years due to increased competition from other countries. The prevalence of below cost selling by larger companies is also putting smaller farmers out of business as they are unable to compete. Now we have further pressures being placed on the sector following the Brexit result. The outcome of the referendum presents an enormous challenge for farmers operating in the horticulture sector as a huge proportion of our exports go to Britain.

“The Government needs to ensure that the interests of horticulture farmers are put forward during the Brexit negotiations. The EU must act to ensure that producers of vegetables, fruit and potatoes are protected from the predatory pricing tactics of multinational corporations. Fianna Fáil supports a fair price for horticulture farmers by banning below cost selling by supermarkets.

“I will continue to fight for a fair price for producers to ensure that farmers are protected and supported. It’s important that we do everything in our power to grow this vital sector of the economy,” concluded Deputy Cahill.