Since the Brexit vote in June and sterling’s plunge against the euro, the Irish mushroom industry has taken a hammering.
It has lost €7m (£6m) out of the average €120m that mushrooms generate for Irishproducers every year. Six farmers out of 60 have already gone out of business.
In between checking the exchange rates and picking up the snowy white mushrooms growing inside a bed of animal manure and thick black Irish peat, Reilly predicts that things will get worse before they get better for the industry.
“Brexit has had a disastrous effect on the Irish mushroom industry. Britain and particularly England is our market, there is really no other. So if the pound falls and our revenue collapses then it will drive more of us out of the industry.”
He points to a punnet of the white, uniformly shaped mushrooms. “I think we captured the British market because the consumers on the other side of the Irish Sea like what we grow. It’s a bit like Irish beef – Ireland has a reputation for its food being clean, green and fresh. The last thing we need is for uncertainty and devaluation of the pound endangering this massively successful product,” Reilly says.
Every day 50 tonnes of Irish mushrooms are shipped across the Irish Sea to the big supermarket chains in Britain. Reilly’s farm is set on four acres, seven miles beyond the town of Athlone on the edge of Ireland’s peat bog land in the Irish midlands. He employs 70 workers, all of whom are from Latvia, inside 16 giant units.
Read full article here