Head of sustainability at Kepak Margaret Berry has said that buyers must see how hard farmers are working in order for consumers to understand the level of sustainability on Irish farms.
When buyers are allowed to connect with farmers in real life, on farm, that’s where things come alive, Berry said.
“While we all work out how to manage sustainability and the complexity around it, when buyers come on farm, it gives them a confidence that when dealing with Ireland there’s an awful lot of inherent sustainability in the ways that the farmers have been farming for hundreds of years," she said.
However, the consumer, Berry said, isn't yet paying for this work being done by farmers, but, in time, she said she hopes that higher prices will come.
"Right now, we need to go on this [sustainability] journey and we need to bring everyone with us.
“If you can imagine, if you are a large purchaser of a big category, a retailer or a large fast-moving consumer goods company, you are responsible for bringing a product to the market and they need that confidence, they need to be able to walk away and say that they can trust the product they are bringing is safe and nutritious, when they come on farm it brings all of that to life,” Berry said.
That’s a very important part of educating the customer and then in time educating the consumer about how their food is produced, she said.