Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, today (Friday, March 11) commented on the suggestion that the Food Vision Dairy Group be suspended due to the impacts arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Minister McConalogue said: “There is real and genuine pressure on farm families at the moment and I am acutely aware of this.

“I know that concerns over the price and availability of animal feed and fertiliser for the year ahead, as well as the impacts on energy supply and prices are weighing on everyone.

“That is why I have established a crisis response group within my department, led by the secretary general, as well as mandating the National Fodder and Food Security Committee, which will meet for the first time today.”

“However, I consider that the work of the Food Vision Dairy Group is too important to consider suspending it, and to do so would send out the wrong signal,” the minister added.

The agriculture minister added that it is critically important that the work of implementing the shared vision agreed for the sector by all of its key stakeholders in Food Vision 2030 is continued.

“The main ambition of this group is to futureproof the sector and ensure we have a vibrant dairy sector for generations to come,” he stated.

The group was established to advance the actions for the dairy sector identified in the Food Vision 2030 strategy, taking account of the requirement for the dairy sector to contribute to achieving the targets set for the agriculture and land use sector in the Climate Action Plan 2021.

Food Vision Dairy Group

According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), The Food Vision Dairy Group’s first priority will be to fulfil the Food Vision commitment to ‘produce a detailed plan by quarter two of 2022 to manage the sustainable environmental footprint of the dairy sector.

This includes minimising total emissions, while making a positive contribution to improved water quality and biodiversity, in line with government policy.

Given the importance of providing certainty for the sector, the group has been tasked to provide an initial report to the minister by end March setting out how emissions associated with the dairy sector can be stabilised and then reduced; with a final plan to be submitted by end May 2022.

The DAFM said that the Food Vision Dairy Group is working intensively to produce the required plan within these timelines, and has met three times to date.

The remit of the group will then move on to the additional sectoral actions identified in Food Vision 2030.