Public consultation on environmental report for next agri-food strategy opens

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Dara Calleary has welcomed public consultation on the draft Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report for the Agri-Food Strategy 2030.

The process for developing the next 10-year strategy to replace Food Wise 2025 has commenced. The department has procured RSK Ireland Ltd to prepare an environmental report of the “likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the strategy”.

Scoping is the process of determining the range and level of detail of the environmental issues to be taken forward in the Strategic Environmental Assessment.

Commenting, Minister Calleary said he is “pleased” with the progress that is being made in conducting the public consultation to help inform the scope of the environmental report.

The Agri-Food Strategy 2030 public consultation document outlines that while the themes of Food Wise “are likely to remain relevant in the next strategy, there are areas that require enhanced focus” such as sustainability.

Environmental sustainability, in particular the contribution which agriculture and forestry can make to climate action and biodiversity, will be critically important.

“Other emerging themes such as the bio-economy and digital and disruptive technologies also need to be considered and incorporated into any strategic foresight for the sector.

“It is also becoming increasingly clear that the agri-food sector needs to be aware of, and adapt to, changing societal norms and expectations so that it can continue to be supported by the public in its activities.

“In conjunction with ‘issues of today’ such as the reform of CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] and Brexit, there is clearly much to consider in devising an ambition and pathway for the future direction of the Irish agri-food sector,” the report states.

Opinions of consultees on the proposed methods, scope and areas of focus for the strategy should be submitted before September 8.