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Future of Food & Agriculture Q2 2022

A sustainable focused future for the Irish agri-food sector

iStock / Getty Images Plus / kowalska-art

Charlie McConalogue, TD

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The agri-food sector in Ireland has shown significant development in recent years however, to continue to grow we must adapt and respond to environmental challenges with innovative solutions.

The land and sea of Ireland make us who we are. Irish farmers, fishers and food companies produce safe, nutritious and tasty food and drinks, keeping our towns, villages and rural areas vibrant, providing employment and continuing our food-producing traditions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the agri-food sector showed resilience, continuing to supply the domestic and export market, and now, the crisis in Ukraine reminds us again of the importance of our food systems.

Transforming the agri-food sector 

The agri-food sector is our oldest and largest indigenous exporting sector with €15.4 billion exports of agri-food products in 2021, a 73% increase in value since 2010. 

The sector has benefited from an approach to strategic planning through the development of stakeholder-led strategies that ensure the sector has a coherent vision and plan to underpin its continued development.

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

The latest strategy, Food Vision 2030, is a landmark for the Irish agri-food sector. 

Achieving sustainable food systems 

Food Vision 2030 was developed by the sector, adopting a food systems approach, taking a more holistic view of agri-food by ensuring an interconnectedness between food, health and nutrition and between food and the environment. The strategy aims for Ireland to be a world leader in “Sustainable Food Systems” and sets out four high-level missions for all stakeholders to work towards: 

  1. A climate smart, environmentally sustainable agri-food sector 
  1. Viable and resilient primary producers with enhanced wellbeing 
  1. Food that is safe, nutritious and appealing, trusted and valued at home and abroad 
  1. An innovative, competitive and resilient agri-food sector, driven by technology and talent 

A collaborative approach

Food Vision 2030 has put farmers and fishers, as our primary producers, at its core. Maintaining the model of family farming is a stated ambition. The strategy envisages farmers responding to environmental challenges, continuing to produce nutritious high-quality food and being providers of a range of eco-system services.

Crucial to success will be all actors in the sector working together in a constructive fashion to address the challenges and grasp the opportunities in the decade ahead. 

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