Progress report: Food Wise 2025 ‘steps’ in right direction

The third progress report on Food Wise 2025 – ‘Steps to Success 2018’ – was launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, earlier today (Friday, July 6).

Unveiling the report, Minister Creed stated: “Market development is one of the main themes of Food Wise 2025. Our intensified market access and market development efforts, including trade missions, are reaping rewards.

“Last year’s record agri-food exports of €13.6 billion and access to new markets – particularly Irish beef access to China, and the opening this week of the Qatari market to Irish beef, sheepmeat and poultry – are an endorsement of this effort, and of Ireland’s quality produce and our high standards of food safety and traceability.”

Steps to Success 2018 highlights the progress achieved in year three in the implementation of the detailed Food Wise 2025 strategy.

Of the 375 actions which were due to commence by 2018 or are ongoing actions, 74% have been achieved or substantial action has been undertaken; and a further 26% have commenced and are progressing well.

Minister Creed chairs the Food Wise High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC), involving senior officials from relevant departments and state agencies – ensuring joined-up Government action, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The HLIC has met five times over the past year and the minister hosted the ‘Food Wise Conference: Challenge, Ambition, Opportunity’ last December.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed

It provided a forum to review progress to date, understand the significant challenges ahead – in particular Brexit and environmental (including climate, water and biodiversity) challenges – and renew the Government’s commitment to provide an enabling environment for the sustainable growth of the sector.

Steps to Success 2018 focuses on topics including: ‘Brexit’; ‘Sustainability, Innovation and Growth’; and ‘Protected Geographical Indications’ (PGI).

The report also highlights what the department and the agencies have done over the last year and outlines a number of key actions to be taken.

In addition to progressing all Food Wise actions, there will be a particular focus in the next year on three key actions:
  • The upgrade of the Moorepark Technology Limited pilot plant;
  • The findings of the Food Wise High Level Innovation team; and
  • Further Brexit response actions.

Minister Creed concluded: “The challenges posed by Brexit makes the actions proposed in Food Wise 2025 all the more relevant, including those in relation to competitiveness, innovation, human capital and market diversification.

“Environmental sustainability is an essential prerequisite to the sector’s growth ambitions, and there is a growing consensus that we can and will do more on this front.

“Food Wise 2025 underlined the sector’s unique and special position within the Irish economy, and Steps to Success illustrates the potential for further growth of the sector in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable manner.”