Commenting at the end of the Food Wise 2017 conference, which saw over 500 stakeholders gather in Croke Park to discuss the strategy for the agri-food sector, Minister Michael Creed made a number of significant announcements.
“I announced today that I will lead at least four trade missions over the next year, starting with a trade mission to the US and Canada in the first quarter of 2018” Minister Creed said. “Our efforts will be deeply informed by the detailed market prioritisation exercise undertaken by Bord Bia at my request.”
With regard to CAP reform, and following Commissioner Hogan’s address to the conference, the Minister announced his intention to launch a public consultation in Ireland on the future shape of the CAP, within the broad parameters laid down in the Commission communication. The Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine will initiate this process early in the New Year.
Minister Creed also underlined the importance of environmental sustainability.
“We have to do more to articulate the tremendous contribution farmers are already making to the management and improvement of the natural environment with the aid of the Rural Development Programme, and the efforts of the industry through Origin Green. However, we cannot allow any negative association between the sector and the environment to get traction – therefore we all need to do more.”
“I will ask the Food Wise Environmental Sustainability Committee to engage with stakeholders to identify and implement policy interventions, to ensure that our environmental obligations are delivered, and to report back to me on its findings”.
“There have been some calls for a moderation of the Food Wise ambition in the light of Brexit” Minister Creed commented. “However, I believe this is no time to step back. The targets set for 2020 in the previous iteration of our current agri-food strategy, are on course to be achieved well ahead of schedule, and they too appeared optimistic at the time.”
“We need to re-double our efforts to deliver on all aspects of the Food Wise strategy. I intend to lead a step up in the work of the Food Wise High Level Implementation Committee to ensure that this happens.”
Today’s conference underlines the collective determination of all in the sector to achieve the growth and sustainability ambitions in Food Wise 2025.
“Our ambition is to deliver jobs for our people, maximise the incomes of our farmers, and protect and enhance our rural environment. With a collaborative approach, I am confident that we can achieve these objectives.”