ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan has told the first meeting of the Food Strategy 2025 Committee that farmer profitability must be the key focus.

“There is no point in increasing food production if the primary producers (the farmer) cannot make a profit,” said Phelan.

“None of these food companies would exist without farmers to supply them, and farmers must get a fair share of the returns.”

“The focus on output cannot be allowed to distract from the need for farming to be viable. That’s why ICSA believes that increased profit should be the yardstick for any strategy. It is clear that the current returns from beef and sheep are not sustainable and this has started to really come into focus as EU supports fall for many farmers. It is high time the entire agri-food sector woke up to reality,” concluded Mr. Phelan.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, recently announced his plans for a new Agri-Food Strategy up to 2025.

The Strategy will be developed by a Committee of leading figures from the agri-food sector and will set out the key actions required to maximise the contribution of the sector to economic growth, job creation and environmental sustainability over the next decade.

The Minister said that he expected the new Strategy to be published in July 2015.