Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Bríd SmithBríd Smith (Dublin South Central, People Before Profit Alliance)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

177. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will examine or commission a study into the damaging environmental and social impacts of the business-led industrial model of Irish agriculture, specifically in circumstances in which only a small cohort of farmers seem to benefit from dairy expansion plans; and his views on the fact that only 20% of farmers receive 80% of CAP payments and that Ireland exports 90% of the amount that is produced in the State, while also importing five and a half million tonnes of grain to feed livestock. [17059/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

Ireland does not have a business-led industrial model of agriculture.

In fact its agricultural model is the opposite of that and is dominated by a family farm model supported by a grass fed livestock sector. This makes us truly unique. The family farm model is one that I support and one that I will continue to support.

Ireland’s agri-food sector comes together on a regular basis to plan for the future, typically every five years, with a 10-year horizon. This process is facilitated by, but independent of, my Department. In late 2019, a Committee of 32 members representative of the sector with an independent Chair, Tom Arnold, was established and tasked with developing the new strategy.

The terms of reference were to outline the vision and key objectives, with associated actions, required to ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the agri-food sector in the decade ahead. The Committee held 13 meetings and following the publication of a draft Strategy and associated environmental assessments for public consultation in April, Food Vision 2030 was published in August last year.

Food Vision 2030, sets out an ambitious blueprint for the sector for the years ahead, supporting family farms and employment in rural Ireland and adding value sustainably into the future, with a strategic focus on environmental protection.

One of the standout aspects of Food Vision is its adoption of a food systems approach. A food systems approach involves considering the interconnectivity of the food system with the environment and with nutrition & health. A sustainable food system delivers food security and nutrition for all, in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food security and nutrition for future generations are not compromised.

Food Vision aims for Ireland to be a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems. It consists of 22 Goals, which are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals are grouped into four high level missions for the sector to work towards.

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

2. Viable and Resilient Primary Producers with Enhanced Well-Being

3. Food that is safe, nutritious and appealing: trusted and valued at home and abroad

4. An Innovative, Competitive and Resilient Agri-Food Sector, driven by Technology and Talent.

There are over 200 recommended actions to achieve these goals and missions.

A Monitoring and Implementation Framework detailing oversight and monitoring mechanisms for implementation, including the establishment of a High Level Implementation Committee chaired by me, is a key part of the Strategy.

Implementation of Food Vision 2030 is already underway, with many of its actions already commenced. I recently chaired the second High-Level Implementation Committee meeting of Food Vision 2030, where we discussed progress on implementing key Food Vision priorities, including the work of a new Food Vision Environmental Group and a Food Vision Dairy Group.

Food Vision is a landmark for the Irish agri-food sector and has the potential to transform the agriculture, food, forestry and marine sectors in the period to 2030, with sustainability at its core. The Strategy is honest and upfront about the challenges ahead. Crucially, it proposes solutions and charts a pathway to sustainability in all its dimensions – environmental, economic and social.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.