The Minister for Agriculture has said he is concerned that a "significant number" of agri-food companies are not prepared for Brexit and has urged for "urgent action" from businesses.

Charlie McConalogue was commenting after his department met stakeholders in the sector this week as part of its consultative process on Brexit.

Mr McConalogue said that businesses need to take steps to ensure they can continue to trade with the UK after 1 January.

He said that there are a "significant number of companies across the agri-food, forestry and fisheries sector, including food and beverage manufacturers, as well as wholesale and retail trade," that have not yet registered for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number.

An EORI number will be needed to trade with Great Britain after it leaves the EU on 1 January.

The minister said he was concerned about the situation and said businesses need to be ready for "this new reality".

He urged businesses in the agri-food sector to take the first steps to register for an EORI number with Revenue.

He said customs and regulatory requirements after 1 January will result in additional delays and costs compared with trade today.

In a statement issued by his department, Minister McConalogue said: "With just five weeks until the end of transition period, time is very short and action is required urgently."