Doyle ‘ambitious’ for agri-food sector to be ‘highest quality in the world’

It has been said that Ireland has the potential to become “the highest-quality food producing country in the world”.

European election candidate for Ireland South, Andrew Doyle, believes this is possible based on “our commitment to sustainability and long tradition of family farming”.

However, Doyle, the current Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, has stressed that for this to happen, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) “has to be strengthened”.

The Fine Gael candidate explained that Ireland’s focus will need to be on “building relationships with other member states”.

The new CAP will be vital in securing investment in rural Ireland, for the expansion of the agri-food sector and the livelihoods of our farmers.

“As the UK prepares to leave the EU, we need to be thinking strategically about aligning ourselves with other states which can be mutually beneficial to our farming industries.”

Doyle explained that he is in favour of supporting increasing Ireland’s contribution to the EU budget, but only if it is spent on his “key priorities”, which include:
  • Placing young farmers at the heart of our negotiating approach to the new CAP – investing in their further education, training and innovation;
  • Defending Ireland’s high standards for agriculture and food quality against low quality imports;
  • Promoting a new CAP programme that encourages women into the agricultural sector;
  • Defending vulnerable sectors in light of any emerging trade proposals on Mercosur, while working to develop new trade deals that are essential for Irish farmers and the wider food industry;
  • Working with EU partners and the Irish Government to help reach the Food Wise 2025 targets of an 85% increase in the value of agri-food exports, creating 23,000 additional agri-food jobs.

Continuing, he explained “As a farmer myself, I understand the challenges being experienced by the farming community, and there are real worries out there about potential budget cuts, our climate action ambitions and the uncertainty of Brexit.”

“However, I view the next-term CAP negotiations as a chance for us to future-proof our evolving industry against other shocks.

If elected to the European Parliament, I will be focusing the need for future agreements to provide for the rebalance of power in the food industry.

Concluding, he said: “I will be supporting generational renewal, knowledge transfer, technology adoption and new incentives for young farmers.