Cowen chairs his first meeting of Food Wise 2025 committee

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Barry Cowen, has chaired his first meeting of the Food Wise 2025 High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC), to discuss the economic impact of Covid-19 for the sector.

The meeting, held yesterday, Tuesday, June 30, also discussed continued trade deal talks between the EU and the UK, and progress on a new agri-food strategy to 2030 to replace Food Wise 2025.

The meeting was attended by the CEOs and senior officials from Bord Bia; Enterprise Ireland; and Teagasc, among other organisations. Officials from various government departments were also in attendance.

Agri-food, including fisheries, is our most important indigenous sector, and I look forward to leading the continued development of the sector, especially now as we work our way through the twin challenges of the economic impact of Covid-19 and ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

Minister Cowen added: “As set out in the Programme for Government, farm families and food businesses are the heartbeat of rural Ireland, and we will work with the sector to improve farm incomes and protect the family farm for future generations.

“We will look to build on Ireland’s green reputation for producing high-quality and sustainable produce at the least environmental cost, ensuring the long-term outlook for the agri-food industry remains positive and vibrant,” he added.

EU agriculture ministers briefing

The previous day, Monday, June 29, Minister Cowen took part in his first EU-level meeting in his new role, at a meeting of the European Agriculture and Fisheries Council.

The meeting, which brings together agriculture ministers from all EU member states, discussed the progress up to now on the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

During the meeting, Cowen took a similar line as his predecessor Michael Creed, saying that environmental measures in CAP need to be matched “by an appropriate budget”.

“As we move forward, if we are to deliver on the environmental ambition, we must provide the necessary financial support for farmers,” he argued.