The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS) has welcomed the Government’s approval of the Food Vision 2030 strategy for the agri-food sector.
The strategy provides a roadmap for the sector to develop over the next 10 years and will succeed the Food Wise 2025 document, which was published in 2015.
ICOS has said that Food Vision 2030 will allow Ireland’s potential for sustainable agriculture to be realised in a world requiring ever more safe food to be produced.
It has also said that the strategy is ambitious in setting the sectoral targets that were outlined in the document.
“The strategy is ambitious in targeting agri-food exports of €21bn by 2030 and the Irish co-operative sector is equally ambitious to support this agenda where we already contribute on a major basis to the rural and national economy, exports, employment and overall national competitiveness,” stated ICOS president Jerry Long.
Long commented that the 130 co-operatives under the ICOS umbrella will work within the framework to increase agricultural sustainability, a goal that ICOS members have already been working towards.
“All of us are deeply mindful of the imperative to achieve this plan on an environmentally sustainable basis, including carbon mitigation in agriculture,” the ICOS president continued.
Long outlined the merits of the Irish grass-based production system in achieving the ambitious targets set out in the strategy.
“Ireland is already a positive actor in this regard, where the competitive advantages of our grass-based production system and the low carbon footprint of the dairy sector, based on international comparisons, can be further enhanced and optimised,” he said.
The ICOS president detailed the co-operative society’s belief that the key targets of the Department’s framework cannot be achieved without working with farmers to implement best practice on farms and to employ new technologies in processing.
“We will work to achieve this strategy through knowledge, innovation, the application of science and best practices in farming and food processing, in parallel with our commitment to protecting the environment and assuring the long-term sustainability and viability of our farm families and our enterprises for the future,” he said.