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Smith Launches 2020 Strategy

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today launched a major initiative to draw up a long-term strategy for the agri-food, forestry and fisheries sectors.

He has appointed a Committee, chaired by Dr Sean Brady, to lead the process and has also established a web-based public consultation process.

"Agri-food, forestry and fisheries are already hugely important to our economy and society as a source of jobs, exports and regional development.  Looking forward I firmly believe that the sector can contribute significantly to our economic recovery and provide long-term growth into the future.  It is vital that we harness this potential, and that we have absolute clarity of vision and determined action to ensure that we do so." said Minister Smith.

The Minister said that he felt that this process was timely as the sector was entering a period of profound change and it was critical that the correct strategies are identified. "At present the sector is facing significant challenges in terms of international competitiveness and environmental sustainability.  However, there are also enormous opportunities opening up in EU and global food and drink markets.  The sector has repeatedly shown its capacity to compete in the toughest marketplaces, and, if we do what is required, I have no doubt that we can grow strongly from the platform we have established."  He specifically wanted to ensure that the industry was seen to be an integral part of the 'Smart Economy' and was at the forefront of this country's export-led economic recovery.

Minister Smith said that in order to facilitate and target consideration of key issues, a series of discussion and background papers had been prepared. These are publicly available on our website: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/2020/ .  These papers outline the current situation and challenges facing the sector "but equally importantly, pose a series of questions, the answers to which will form the core of our future strategy.  I would welcome stakeholder input and views on how best to deal with some of the critical issues arising from these discussion papers". Details on how to make submissions are given at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/2020/ .

The 2020 Strategy Committee (details attached) is broadly based and possesses a wide range of skills and experience. It is drawn from senior experts and participants in all aspects of the sector. The Minister said he was particularly pleased that Dr. Sean Brady had agreed to chair the group and expressed his "deep appreciation to all the members who have agreed to serve despite their busy schedules".

"I have asked the Committee to draw up a short, sharp document which sets out the key strategies required for the future development of the sector.  I believe that the very high calibre of the committee members will ensure that the output from this exercise will be both bold and practical and will set a clear path forward for the sector." Minister Smith said.

He has asked the Committee to report by the 1st June 2010.  The Committee will inter alia consider comments received from individuals and organisations through the public consultation exercise.

NOTE FOR EDITORS

Committee members listed below

Membership of 2020 Committee

Committee Chairman

  • Dr Sean Brady

SSB and AHI Chairs

  • Dan Brown, Chair, Bord Bia
  • Noel Cawley, Chair, Teagasc, & Chair, Seafood Ind. Strategy Review Group
  • Rose McHugh, Chair, BIM,
  • Mike Magan, Chair, AHI,
  • Noel Groome, Chair, Foras Orgánach,
  • Jim Fennell, Chair, Marine Institute

Farm Organisations Presidents

  • IFA John Bryan
  • ICMSA Jackie Cahill
  • ICOS Pat McLoughlin
  • ICSA Gabriel Gilmartin
  • Macra  Michael Gowing
  • William Keane, 2009 FBD Young Farmer

Food Industry Chief Executive/Senior Manager

  • Larry Murrin - Food and Drinks Industry Ireland (FDII), (Dawn Farm Foods),
  • John Maloney - Glanbia
  • John Horgan - Kepak
  • John Counsel - Diageo
  • Jim Hanley - Rosderra
  • Dan McSweeney - Carbery
  • Eamonn Lennon - Abbott
  • Donal Byrne - Cadbury

Fisheries and Forestry

  • Irish Fish Producers Organisation - CEO, Lorcain O'Cinneide
  • Irish Timber Growers Association - Brendan Lacey

Consumer and Retail

  • Chris Martin, Musgrave Group, CEO
  • Gary Browne, Group CEO, RMG Target

Economists, Accountants and Banks

  • Michael Dowling, Head Agri-Strategy AIB
  • Professor Alan Matthews, Prof of Economics, TCD
  • Tom Considine, Former Sec. Gen. D/Finance,

Environment

  • Mary Kelly - Director General EPA
    Secretariat: from DAFF (EPD), Bord Bia, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland.

ICTU representative

  • Gerry McCormack

Date Released: 16 February 2010