This week the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, published his Department’s new medium-term Statement of Strategy (2021-2024) alongside a 75-point Action Plan for 2021.
In the Strategy, the Department sets out a strong vision on how to achieve a “sustainable, innovative and competitive agri-food, forestry, and seafood sector” within the coming three years. This Statement of Strategy reinforces the Department’s strategic focus on sustainably fostering these three key sectors.
Beyond the medium-term strategy for the sectors, the accompanied Action Plan for the current year contains a broad range of specific initiatives that the Department aims to implement by the end of 2021. Key among the planned actions is the development of a new long-term 2030 Agri-food sector Strategy.
Meanwhile, the Statement of Strategy set outs five strategic goals which will further underpin the whole of Government approach to tackle the impact of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improve water and air quality, as well as reverse the decline in biodiversity. This will give effect to the commitment set out in the Programme for Government to make climate action a core pillar of the work of the Department’s operational strategies.
Specifically, the five strategic goals described by the long-term strategy are:
- To promote and safeguard public, animal and plant health, as well as animal welfare for the benefit of consumers, producers, the economy and wider society.
- Provide income and targeted supports to farmers and other stakeholders in the agri-food sector to underpin the rural economy and optimise environmental sustainability.
- Provide the optimum policy framework for the sustainable development of the agri-food sector.
- Deliver a sustainable, competitive and innovative seafood sector, driven by a skilled workforce, to deliver value-added products in line with consumer demands.
- Maintain and develop strategic, operational, regulatory and technical capacity and capability, in order to deliver excellent services to customers.
Moreover, the Strategy aims to provide a boost to the agri-food sector through the development and implementation of the upcoming 2030 Agri-Food Strategy and the new Common Agricultural Policy Strategic Plan. Furthermore, a new national forestry strategy is also envisaged before the end of the year.
Overall, the publication by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine coincides with the Government’s presentation of its rural development policy, entitled “Our Rural Future”, last week, which provides a framework for the development of rural Ireland over the next five years.