Irish agri-food sector achievements to be acknowledged at Food Wise Conference

Achievements of the Irish agri-food sector in terms of innovative, sustainable growth over recent years will be acknowledged at the upcoming Food Wise Conference.

Organised by the Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the ‘Food Wise Conference: Challenge, Ambition, Opportunity’ will take place in Croke Park on Monday, December 4, from 8:30am.

As well as acknowledging the achievement of the Irish agri-food sector, the purpose of the conference is to consider how the Food Wise process can lead a dynamic, collaborative response to future opportunities and challenges.

The conference, which will run for the majority of the day, will be made up of four sessions. These will be entitled: ‘Global Market Insights’; ‘Policy Drivers’; ‘Environmental Sustainability and Agri-Food’; and ‘Food Wise: Impact in a New Era’.

Speakers at the upcoming conference will include: An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan; the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed: the CEO of Bord Bia, Tara McCarthy; officials from the Department of Agriculture; and senior figures within the Irish agri-food sector.

The conference will be made up of a mix of presentations and panel discussions.

During the first session on ‘Global Market Insights’, Joe Glauber from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is set to discuss international trends in agri-food markets. Meanwhile, Bord Bia’s Tara McCarthy is expected to present results from a market prioritisation exercise.

Following that, the CEO of Kerry Group, Edmund Scanlon, and the managing director of Kepak Group, John Horgan, will offer their views on trends in the dairy and meat sectors respectively.

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will then address the conference in the second session on Policy Drivers, before Commissioner Hogan discusses the future direction of the common agricultural policy (CAP); a panel discussion will then take place where other policy drivers such as Brexit and developments in international trade negotiations will be considered.

The session on Environmental Sustainability and Agri-Food will see an overview of policy developments in this area at European and national level, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ornua, Teagasc and FoodCloud.

The closing session will feature an address from the chair of the Food Wise Committee, John Moloney, who will give his views on the performance of the strategy thus far and how it can continue to be relevant in the new era of increased market volatility and external threats.

A panel discussion between: the group managing director of Keelings Ltd, Caroline Keeling; the former president of Macra na Feirme and CEJA, Alan Jagoe; and the secretary general of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Aidan O’Driscoll will then take place.

During the discussion consideration will be given to how the Food Wise 2025 strategy can address the challenges, live up to the ambition, and exploit the opportunities that exist in the agri-food sector.

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