The Christmas period might be known as the most wonderful time of year, but it is certainly the busiest time of year for many Irish farmers and agri-food suppliers. Irish food producers are urging people this year to consider the positive impact that supporting locally-produced food has on the rural economy, along with the environment.
Despite Irish producers providing local, fresh and top-quality produce to the retail market, consumers need to be mindful that the availability of cheaper imports from lower-cost economies means that supermarkets "are happy to source product abroad and keep Irish product prices subdued".
“Irish fresh produce benefits from being fresher, by days in many cases; it has lower carbon footprint in terms of transport; and it has the added benefit of supporting the local economy in Ireland," said Dermot Callaghan, head of the Horticulture Development Department at Teagasc. He added that recent experiences, like Brexit or Covid-19, have shown us that supply chains “are not so linear”.
“When you’re importing a lot of product, there are complexities in the supply chain which can lead to risk in the supply of food. The UK has had particular problems but we too have been affected,” Callaghan continued.
He added that demand for fresh Irish produce “has never been higher, but price has never been lower, relative to cost of production”.