Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Food Industry

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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386. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which plans are afoot to protect possible shortages in the food chain in this country given the increased population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12201/23]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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Ireland is among the most food secure countries in the world and ranks second of 113 countries assessed for food security, according to the latest Global Food Security Index released last September.

The population of Ireland in Census 2022 was 5.1 million people, up by almost 362,000 (7%) since the census in 2016. The Irish agri-food sector is globally orientated, with approximately 90% of Irish beef, sheepmeat and dairy produce exported each year. Currently Ireland produces significantly more food than we consume.

While we also import food such as some fruit & vegetables, bread, flour, sugar and cocoa, most of these foods remain readily available on world markets. The resilience of the food supply chain was clearly demonstrated over the past number of years when dealing with the effects of Brexit and the international lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Deputy is aware, Ireland is part of the EU single market and participates in the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), which is the key mechanism for ensuring food security throughout Europe. The EU is largely self-sufficient for many agricultural products but is a considerable net importer for specific products.

The current geopolitical situation is challenging established assumptions on food security. Increasing input costs in the food supply chain are driving food prices up across the EU, impacting both on food affordability and farmer incomes. The EU communication "Safeguarding food security and reinforcing the resilience of food systems” sets out actions in the three areas of security, stability, and sustainability. The EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council of Ministers, of which I am a member, will continue to focus on these core areas and to support the work of the recently established European Food Security Crisis preparedness and response Mechanism (EFSCM).


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