Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue asked in recent parliamentary questions whether the minister had plans to review the FoodWise 2025 strategy, considering it was published one year before the Brexit referendum in Ireland’s main agri-food export market.
Minister Creed replied that “ensuring action is taken on the FoodWise recommendations, particularly those related to market development, competitiveness and innovation, assumes even greater importance in the light of the UK decision”.
“However, I see no compelling reason at this point to review the strategy”, he added.
The minister said that he had called a special meeting of the FoodWise high-level implementation committee immediately after Brexit and would include the issue as a standard item on the agenda of each future meeting of the committee.
In an Irish Farmers Journal editorial following the appointment of Bord Bia’s new chief executive Tara McCarthy last month, it was suggested that “perhaps McCarthy’s first job is to call for the redesigning of FoodWise. A target of €19bn seems unachievable in this environment and it may not yield the dividends for farmers”.
Bord Bia’s outgoing chief executive Aidan Cotter recently outlined scenarios illustrating the challenge of growing Ireland’s food exports from €11bn last year to €19bn in 2025. He said that simultaneous efforts to develop new and existing markets would be required, with a view to taking several continental European past the critical €1bn mark - a size currently achieved only in the UK.