Strathroy plans to secure more milk volumes in the Republic

Brexit will not be a deterrent to Strathroy Dairy increasing its milk pool in the Republic of Ireland, according to company director Cormac Cunningham.

Yes, there is a fair degree of uncertainty surrounding the final outcome of the Brexit deal, he said.

“But we are totally committed to further developing our all-island milk procurement and sales business. We are encouraging dairy farmers, particularly in the Wexford area, to give very active consideration to the possibility of forging a long term future with Strathroy.

Cunningham did not rule out the possibility of Strathroy committing to a milk processing operation in the Republic, should a hard Brexit become a reality.

But that would only be considered on a needs’ must basis.

“I see no reason why we can’t secure a Brexit trade deal which would allow the continuing free movement of agricultural goods across the border in both directions.

“I am extremely concerned about the usage of the term ‘friction-less border’, as this assumes that tariffs could still be paid on agricultural goods that are transported north-south and south-north.”

Under the Brexit deal envisaged by Cunningham, lamb produced in Northern Ireland but subsequently processed south of the border, could be sold into the EU market tariff free.

“The same principle should hold for southern pigs slaughtered in the North and the subsequent meat products then sent back to the Republic of Ireland.

“Such an arrangement would not undermine the current red Tractor and Farm Quality Assurance Schemes operating in Northern Ireland.”

In reality, he said that the amount of food produced in Northern Ireland is relatively small from an EU perspective.

“A significant number of existing Member States already have specific trading arrangements in place for satellite regions that  have complex political arrangements in place. Cyprus is a case in point.

“We need to see the retention of an all-island market for agri food products. This is the only way to maximise the maximum level of competition for the produce coming off farms, north and south.”