The State's agriculture and food development authority has said it is investing heavily to ensure Ireland is "Brexit ready".

Teagasc has published its annual report for 2019.

Projects worth close to €35 million are specifically geared towards dealing with Brexit challenges.

The projects include €8.5 million investment in a National Food innovation hub in Moorepark.

A €10 million investment in National Prepared Consumer Foods Centre in Ashtown.

A €6 million investment in Bia Innovator hub in Athenry and a €10 million investment in Moorepark Technology Limited.

The Director of Teagasc has said the authority is, "looking to support companies who want to diversify into other markets, in particular the Asian market".

Gerry Boyle said that the authority wanted to assist companies to diversify into alternative markets and develop niche products for some markets.

He said the dairy sector was faced with what he called a "huge challenge" with regard to the export of cheddar cheese to the UK as a result of Brexit.

Mr Boyle said the authority was working to "develop an appetite for cheddar in China," he said the "Cheddar for China" initiative was working to research and develop that appetite.

Mr Boyle, said the industry had a role to play in "understanding and addressing" the challenges that Brexit presents for the sector.

He said the prepared foods sector would be "uniquely impacted" by Brexit.

The annual report also addresses the debate around climate change and said that the issue generated, "an awful lot of heat" when it came to the contribution of the agriculture sector to green house gas emissions.

Mr Boyle said that Teagasc sought to "maintain a strict scientific approach" to its work on climate change.

He said the outcomes of its research are often criticised from both the agri-sector and environmentalists which he said reflected that its work was science based.

He said there was a huge challenge in communicating "complex issues" on climate change.

Mr Boyle said that the treatment of methane emissions would be a significant issue. He said the splitting of methane from other emissions would happen in time, but it said it could take up to ten years.

He said that New Zealand has already embarked on splitting methane from other greenhouse gases when it was measuring emissions. He said that was "an important step", but he said it would be "an important but a complex step to explain".

State grant-in-aid for current operations of Teagasc amounted to €130.373 million in 2019, and for capital purposes €5.32 million was received in 2019.

Excluding the net deferred funding for pensions, Teagasc income in 2019 was €198m, which was €3m higher than in 2018.

Compared to 2018 there was an increase of €1m in grant in aid for current purposes and a decrease of €1m in grant aid for capital purposes.