10 September 2021 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A new study published yesterday by Ifac, the professional services firm for the farm, food and agri-business sector with an office presence in Monaghan, reveals that the major of agri-food enterprises have experienced a negative impact from Brexit, but are nonetheless optimistic about the post-pandemic prospects of economic recovery. Ifac’s fourth annual sentiment survey of Irish food and agri-business SMEs was conducted by Amárach Research during June and July 2021.

With a robust vaccine rollout and plans to remove the outstanding Covid-19 restrictions afoot, the report shows that optimism levels among Irish food and agri-businesses have seen a significant rebound, up from 55% in 2020 to a four-year high of 77% in 2021. With the agri-food industry facing significant challenges related to climate change, 37% of SMEs are putting ESG or environmental, social and corporate governance factors high on their agendas. 87% are taking positive climate change actions and all food and agri-business SMEs are continuing to invest in climate change initiatives; sustainable packaging continues to be the top trend impacting Irish food businesses, as well as managing waste and by-products.

But the findings also show that 71% of respondents reported an increase in costs this year, from transport and energy to raw materials and packaging, an issue that in some cases could contribute to food price inflation in the coming months. With the Brexit transition period ending at the start of the year, a real impact is apparent with 64% of businesses saying they have been negatively affected by Brexit; one in every 2 businesses cite transport disruption as a major Brexit downside. Also, Covid-19 has made its mark…

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