New government Agri-Food plans welcomed by Environmental Pillar‏

The Environmental Pillar welcomes the decision of the Minister Simon Coveney to make the new agri-food strategy a government initiative rather than an industry led plan.
The Environmental Pillar, which represents 28 national environmental NGOs, welcomes the announcement of a committee to prepare the new strategy and the tendering of an environmental analysis of the plan.
We also look forward to further engagement between the committee and the environmental sector on this important national plan, in order to ensure that the Rio Principles of Sustainable Development, balancing the Environmental, Social and Economic components are adhered to.
“We are delighted that the direction of our agriculture sector will no longer be determined by the industry-led initiative, Food Harvest 2020. We welcome a concerted effort from DAFM to create a strategy for the sector that is government led. This is an opportunity to really lay sustainable foundations for our agri sector, at a critical time,” said Cillian Lohan, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar.
“In the context of our economic recovery and job creation the focus of this strategy needs to be on long term sustainability. Our competitive advantage, as Minister Coveney points out, is our high quality, “green” agri-produce. Incorporating the value of the ecosystem services that underpin these outputs is a critical challenge for this new strategy. There is no reason why we can’t produce high quality food while protecting and enhancing our environment.
“We look forward to engaging with the writing of the strategy from the outset. All interested citizens should take the time to input into this new strategy. Minister Coveney is providing the public with a chance to assert their democratic right and contribute their views while the strategy is being formed. If you put any food in your mouth today, then this affects you. We are quick to complain about government making decisions behind closed doors and without consultation, let’s not let this opportunity to input into such an important sector pass any of us by.”
Yesterday the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, announced his plans for a new agri-food strategy up to 2025.
This strategy will be developed by a Committee of leading figures from the agri-food sector and other stakeholders.
The aim of the plan will be to maximize the contribution of the sector to economic growth, job creation and environmental sustainability over the next decade.
The Minister said that he expected the new Strategy to be published in July 2015. He also announced that Mr John Moloney is to chair the Strategy Committee
Minister Coveney also opened a public consultation on the Strategy, with submissions invited from both organisations and individuals.
The Minister also announced the opening of tenders for an environmental analysis of the 2025 agri-food strategy including an Appropriate Assessment and a Strategic Environment Assessment.
Background documents on the strategy are available here
Media Contact
Cillian Lohan
Environmental Pillar
087 942 8246
Ian Carey
Communications Officer
Environmental Pillar
086 307 4004
Notes for Editor:
About the Environmental Pillar
The Environmental Pillar is a national social partner, comprising 28 national environmental organisations. It works to promote the protection and enhancement of the environment, together with the creation of a viable economy and a just society, without compromising the viability of the planet on which we live for current and future generations of all species and ecosystems. For more information, please see our website, Facebook or Twitter.
Member Organisations of the Environmental Pillar:
An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Centre for Environmental Living and Training, CoastWatch, Coomhola Salmon Trust, Crann, ECO-UNESCO, FEASTA, Forest Friends, Friends of the Earth, Global Action Plan, Gluaiseacht, Good Energies Alliance, Irish Doctors’ Environmental Association, Irish Wildlife Trust, Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, Irish Natural Forestry Foundation, Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Irish Seal Sanctuary, Irish Seed Savers Association, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Native Woodland Trust, Sonairte, Sustainable Ireland Cooperative (Cultivate), The Organic Centre, VOICE, Zero Waste Alliance.