The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, yesterday chaired the 23rd meeting of the Food Wise High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) which discussed Brexit preparedness, the implications of a no-Deal Brexit for the seafood sector, and the findings of the Food Wise Innovation team and the Agri-Food Strategy to 2030.
On Brexit preparedness, Minister Creed highlighted his Department’s upcoming seminars on “Practical steps to keep agri-food trade moving” (www.agriculture.gov.ie/brexit/events), which are taking place later this month. These seminars will be of interest to agri-food businesses of all sizes, logistics companies, hauliers, retailers, importers/exporters, transport companies and representative bodies.
The Committee heard from representatives of the seafood sector on the serious implications of a no-Deal Brexit across the primary and processing sectors. Minister Creed acknowledged the specific difficulties facing the seafood sector and outlined his ongoing engagement on these issues nationally and with EU colleagues.
Following a recommendation in Food Wise, an “Innovation Team” was established to review innovation in the agri-food sector capacity. The Innovation Team (Mella Frewen, Frank Roche and Paul Finnerty, supported by a secretariat from Enterprise Ireland and DAFM) presented their findings to the HLIC, highlighting the importance of innovation as a driver of long-term sustainable development in the agri-food sector.
Food Wise 2025 is the current ten-year strategy for the agri-food sector, and preparations have now begun on the new strategy to 2030. Minister Creed commented, “Although the sector is facing challenges, not least the current Brexit uncertainty, it is important not to lose sight of the progress made in recent years and the importance of the sector for the future, not only to farmers but to the wider economy, especially rural and coastal communities”.
The public consultation on the new Agri-Food Strategy to 2030 will remain open until 1 October 2019. DAFM will host an “Open Policy Debate” conference on the new Strategy in the Aviva Stadium on 16 October 2019 (details to follow).