The Farmers Journal reported at the end of November that 40 percent of Irish mushroom growers had exited the industry since 2016. Although not a surprising stat, it is all the same a very stark one.
The weakening of sterling and the rising cost of straw were two of the main factors given as the cause of the exodus from the industry. No doubt uncertainty in the face of the UK position with regards to the EU was also a contributory factor.
Not knowing if you can even supply the main market for mushrooms from Ireland has got to feed into the decision to make a clean break.
CMP CEO Donal McCarthy told the Journal : “Despite losing a number of growers in the last three years, we’re still growing 95% of the volume we were. The UK has a total mushroom market of 190,000t, of which 130,000t is retail. We’d have nearly half of that so we’ve achieved a lot.
The people that are in this industry are so resilient. We’ve all been through the wars. At the end of Brexit, we’ll look back and say it forced us to do things we thought were impossible up to now.”