The Irish Grain Assurance Scheme (IGAS) was recognised at the Talamh Awards held this week, April 24, for its achievement in bringing the scheme in line with world standards, which in turn makes it easier to market Irish grain products globally.
The scheme was a finalist in the Sustainable Farming category.
Membership of the scheme is essential where Irish cereals are destined for malting, brewing, distilling, flour production, oat milling and the animal feed industries.
Bench-marked to global requirements
IGAS was bench-marked against the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform’s (SAI Platform’s) Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) Tool – an international set of “best practices” used to evaluate agricultural sustainability schemes worldwide.
The FSA was used to assess the scheme and at first comparison the IGAS received ‘bronze’ equivalence.
However, after changes were made to the code of practice and audit questionnaire a ‘silver’ equivalence was achieved.
What does this mean?
Meeting these standards means that the Irish grain industry can market the fact that Irish grain is produced in a fully sustainable and safe way as the IGAS verifies this against the international FSA approach to farm sustainability.
Major Irish food giants such as Diageo, Irish Distillers, Boortmalt, the Malting Company of Ireland and Glanbia were fully involved in this process and have congratulated IGAS on this major achievement.
Commenting on the achievement Tom Kelly, the scheme manager, stated: “This will aid greatly with the marketing of Irish grain and Irish grain products, which in turn greatly helps to secure the future of growers and assemblers of grain in Ireland.
Sustainability is vital in all aspects of agriculture and food production worldwide and will become even more important over time.
“It is crucially important that Irish food producers stay ahead of the market in this respect,” he added.
IGAS was formed in 2001 by marrying the interests of the growers of Irish grain with that of the end users, which include animal-feed producers, merchants, millers, distillers, brewers and malsters.
The scheme ensures that Irish grain is fully traceable. Seed, fertiliser and chemical inputs are all recorded, while there is also full traceability of transport, handling and storage.