Irish Farmers Association (IFA) poultry committee chair Nigel Sweetnam has called for cross-border co-operation on education in the poultry sector for the island of Ireland.

The Poultry Industry Education Trust conference was held this week in Cookstown, Co Cavan, where the lack of youth entering the industry over the past number of years was an issue raised.

The poultry industry, Sweetnam said, has lost its shine and needs to be reinvigorated.

Aging profile

“Across the whole island, we are looking at an aging farmer profile which must be addressed.

"I want to acknowledge the excellent work being done by Rebecca Tierney in Teagasc for the sector and am asking that the recently launched poultry apprenticeship scheme gets greater support from industry and Government,” Sweetnam added.

Education, he explained, begins with children, which can sometimes be overlooked but must be valued.

"Therefore, it is vital we have a balanced approach to primary and secondary school education around food and nutritional education.

"All stakeholders need to take responsibility and teach the younger generation where their food comes from and enable them to appreciate the value of all food produce,” Sweetnam concluded.