Creating new, sustainable and innovative opportunities for farmers and high-quality, green jobs topped the agenda at the first meeting of the National Bioeconomy Forum on Friday morning.
Minister of State in the Department of Agriculture Martin Heydon told the meeting that producing sustainable and renewable biological resources from farms, forests and seas is a key business opportunity he wants to see developed to the benefit of the agri-food sector.
“These products will replace and reduce our dependence on fossil-based resources and, most importantly, generate sustainable new economic opportunities for farmers, foresters and fishers, as well as for young and skilled rural entrepreneurs and the agri-food sector in rural, regional and coastal areas,” Minister Heydon said.
“I am delighted that the highly regarded John Malone has accepted the invitation to expertly chair this forum, which meets for the first time today [Friday] and brings together a wide range of stakeholders with the aim of developing the bioeconomy in Ireland.”
Director of BiOrbic, Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre, Professor Kevin O’Connor has been appointed as the forum vice-chair and the chair of the expert advisory group that will support the forum with scientific and technical advice and input.
Also speaking at Friday’s meeting was Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, who suggested that Ireland has "real potential" in the industry.
“The establishment of the National Bioeconomy Forum is a significant step toward realising this ambitious goal,” Minister Ryan said.
“The forum aims to promote, support and advocate for the sustainable development of the bioeconomy in Ireland in line with the progression of a circular economy, climate action and a climate-neutral, sustainable and innovative agri-food sector.
“The forum will provide a voice for a broad range of stakeholders, including primary producers, industry, community groups, NGOs, innovation clusters and relevant semi-State bodies.”