NATIONAL: Agriculture, Food and the Marine Action Plan 2021 published

Plan supports a sustainable, innovative and competitive agri-food, forestry and seafood sector

Catherine McGinty

Reporter:

Catherine McGinty

Email:

catherine.mcginty@iconicnews.ie

Minister McConalogue publishes  Agriculture, Food and the Marine Action Plan 2021.

Minister McConalogue publishes Agriculture, Food and the Marine Action Plan 2021.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Statement of Strategy (2021-2024) has been published by Minister Charlie McConalogue.

Alongside the Statement of Strategy is an Action Plan for 2021, which outlines 75 actions to further develop a sustainable, innovative and competitive agri-food, forestry and seafood sector.

The Action Plan for 2021 will build on significant work already underway by Ministers McConalogue, Hackett and Heydon and the Department, including:

Continuing to provide vital supports to the farmers, fishers and foresters which are the lifeblood of a balanced rural and coastal economy and community.

Finalising and publishing a new 10-year Strategy for the agri-food sector - delivering on a key commitment of the Programme for Government, which called for an ambitious blueprint for the industry for the years ahead, taking into account our climate action and environmental obligations.

Developing Ireland's CAP Strategic Plan.

Designing, developing and commencing new transitional schemes for 2021 including an Agri-Environment results-based Pilot Project which rewards farmers for committed environmental effort by linking payments to the quality of environmental outcomes delivered.

Implementing Ireland’s first over-arching Animal Welfare Strategy.

Working to develop initiatives and policies to underpin and support farm and fisher incomes.

Welcoming the publication of the new Statement of Strategy and Action Plan, Minister McConalogue said: “The key priority for me as Minister is the protection of incomes and the sustainable development of our sector.

"Our farmers, fishers and food producers face many challenges as they continue to provide the high-quality  food, fish, timber. Our primary producers also excel at supporting a range of ecosystems services, while playing a central role in the transformation of our economy and society towards a long-term sustainable future. 

"We will provide a policy platform that protects incomes, ensures that our food offering is safe and of the highest quality and that our industry is environmentally sustainable and competitive.”

The Statement of Strategy sets out five Strategic Goals for the Department which will be underpinned by actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water and air quality and reverse biodiversity decline to give effect to the Programme for Government commitment to make climate action a core pillar of Department strategies.

The five goals are as follows: 

To promote and safeguard public, animal and plant health and animal welfare for the benefit of consumers, producers, the economy and wider society;

Provide income and targeted supports to farm families and others in the agri-food sector to underpin the balanced rural economy and optimise environmental sustainability;

Provide the optimum policy framework for the sustainable development of the agri-food sector;

Deliver a sustainable, competitive and innovative seafood sector, driven by a skilled workforce, delivering value added products in line with consumer demand; and

Maintain and develop strategic, operational, regulatory and technical capacity and capability to deliver excellent services to our customers.

Senator Pippa Hackett, Minister of State with special responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity, stated: “I welcome the publication of this Statement of Strategy and Action Plan. 

"They provide us with a clear outline of what is required to progress action on climate and biodiversity, and the means by which we integrate them into all aspects of the Department’s work. From nature-friendly land use, to reducing emissions and enhancing our farmland biodiversity – these and other actions are vital to the continued health of our society, economy, species and planet.”

Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development, added: “This Statement of Strategy provides a concise and accessible foundation from which to advance our ambition to support strategic investment in research and development; identify, negotiate and develop new market access; and improve health, safety and wellbeing outcomes on Irish farms.”

 The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Action Plan 2021 and the Department’s  Statement of Strategy, 2021-2024 are available HERE.