Research and innovation are key to delivering Food Vision 2030 ambitions, a seminar hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and Teagasc has heard today (Friday, June 3).

More than 120 delegates from across Ireland’s agri-food sector, higher education, and civil society are participating in a seminar and workshop aimed at exploring the central role that research and innovation for sustainable food systems will play in delivering on the ambition of the Food Vision 2030 strategy.

Minister of State at the DAFM, Martin Heydon, in his opening address, said:

“Following on from last year’s UN Food Systems Summit, sustainable food systems have come centre stage, and this is a cornerstone of the new 10-year strategy for the agri-food sector, Food Vision 2030.

“This event, today, provides an opportunity to explore in more detail how an enhanced approach to research and innovation in both the public and private sectors can underpin some of the key principles of sustainable food systems, in turn delivering on the ambition of Food Vision 2030,” he said.

As part of the seminar, delegates from the research and innovation community across state agencies, higher education institutes, government departments, the food and drink industry, as well as sectoral representatives, civil society groups, hear keynote addresses from a range of national and international experts in food systems research, including:

  • Professor Joachim Von Braun, chair of the Scientific Group for the UN Food Systems Summit and president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences;
  • Professor Ismahane Elouafi, chief scientist with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN;
  • Tom Arnold, chair of the High-Level EU Committee in Food Systems Science, and Ireland Special envoy for Food Systems.

Minister Heydon said said that Food Vision 2030 has set out a clear direction for the agri-food sector.

This includes a high-level agri-food innovation response such as enabling the use of the best available science and technology, to address the climate and socio-economic challenges it faces.

“My department’s financial commitment to research is demonstrated by the fact that agriculture research has the third-highest level of public funding across all sectors of government investment in research.“

But this is only one element in delivering a strong research and innovation system, he said.

“A key desirable outcome from today is to develop an enhanced model of agri-food research and innovation that will provide a range of solutions to reconcile our food system with the needs of our farmers, the agri-food industry, consumers and the many others who both participate in it and depend on it.”

Commenting, director of Teagasc, Professor Frank O’Mara said:

“With our research ranging from soils through to consumers, across the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental – the food systems approach makes absolute sense to Teagasc.

“We are embedding this thinking in all major Teagasc initiatives, such as our new Climate Action Strategy where food systems is an important cross-cutting component of critical new research and advisory initiatives.

“We are delighted to have co-hosted this event with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and to exchange knowledge and perspectives with others in the food system to help us with this.”