Written answers

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Food Industry

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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470. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he and his Department continue to ensure the sustainable development of the food industry here, notwithstanding Brexit-related issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38947/21]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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471. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he continues to liaise with his Government colleagues in order to ensure the sustainable and viable development of the agri-food sector and the fundamental importance of same and the need to reduce carbon emissions; if he remains satisfied that both objectives can be achieved without damaging the other; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38948/21]

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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473. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ensure the future of the agri-food sector here on a sustainable basis given the high level of sustainability already achieved by the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38950/21]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 470, 471 and 473 together.

The agri-food sector has benefited from an approach to strategic planning through the development of 10-year stakeholder-led strategies, updated every five years. Since their inception 20 years ago, up to the current Food Wise 2025 plan, these strategies have ensured that the sector has a coherent vision and strategy to underpin the sector’s continued development. The development of a new strategy for the agri-food sector is a key commitment of the Programme for Government, which called for an ambitious blueprint for the sector for the years ahead, adding value sustainably into the future, with a strategic focus on environmental protection.

The need to improve sustainability in all its forms, environmental, economic and social, has been at the core of the deliberations of the Stakeholder Committee established to develop the new Strategy. A draft of this Strategy was published in April as part of a public consultation and it sets a vision for Ireland to become a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems over the period to 2030. This vision will see Ireland’s agri-food sector continuing to produce safe, nutritious, high-value food while protecting and enhancing our environment and contributing to vibrant rural and coastal communities and the national economy.

It is clear from the draft Strategy that careful consideration has been given to the issue of meeting environmental targets, while also supporting the ongoing development and viability of the agri-food sector. The draft Strategy has established four high level Missions and these in effect will guide the sector to achieving the triple objectives of economic, environmental and social sustainability:

- A Climate Smart, Environmentally Sustainable Agri-Food Sector.

- Viable and Resilient Primary Producers, with Enhanced Wellbeing

- Food that is Safe, Nutritious and Appealing, Trusted and Valued at Home and Abroad.

- And An Innovative, Competitive and Resilient Sector, Driven by Technology and Talent.

It is also worth noting that the draft Strategy has set challenging environmental metrics for the sector to achieve, including the over-arching ambition to develop a climate neutral sector by 2050, with substantial verifiable progress by 2030. I note that a series of well-thought out actions are contained in the Strategy to help deliver on that ambition. These build on the Ag Climatise Climate & Air Roadmap for the Agriculture Sector that I launched in December last.

I am confident that the new Strategy will serve the sector well and that its vision can be achieved, notwithstanding the challenges that exist in terms of sustainability, dealing with the aftermath of Brexit and building back better after COVID-19. Working together we will become a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems over the period to 2030.

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