Ho­gan calls for sus­tain­able ‘farm to fork’ agri­cul­ture

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CHRIS MC­CUL­LOUGH

THE Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing its €28bn dairy in­dus­try, Bri­tish Sec­re­tary of State for the En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs Michael Gove told del­e­gates on the open­ing day of the World Dairy Sum­mit in Belfast yes­ter­day.

Mr Gove ( right) said that dur­ing Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment wants to en­sure that sup­ply lines are solid, no bar­ri­ers to trade are erected and labour can be ac­cessed where it is needed.

“The key to a prof­itable dairy in­dus­try will be to en­sure we have the cor­rect lev­els of in­vest­ment into in­no­va­tion to en­sure our farm­ers can be as ef­fi­cient as they can be in the fu­ture.”

He also an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment was open­ing up a £14 mil­lion dairy fund to sup­port in­no­va­tion in the dairy in­dus­try and en­hance wel­fare stan­dards.

EU Farm Com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan spoke about the ef­fects Brexit will have on the dairy in­dus­try and said the is­sue of free move­ment of peo­ple was “a dif­fi­cult is­sue for the UK and for the EU for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, and will re­quire ne­go­ti­a­tions.”

Mr Ho­gan told the Sum­mit that EU agri ex­ports con­tin­ued to grow even though the sec­tor was still ad­just­ing to the post-quota en­vi­ron­ment. He said there is need for an on­go­ing com­mit­ment to sus­tain­abil­ity ‘from farm to fork’.

The Com­mis­sioner also said dairy farm­ers, in the fu­ture, need to in­no­vate, co-op­er­ate and fol­low mar­ket sig­nals if they wanted to suc­ceed with a prof­itable busi­ness.

The Belfast con­fer­ence is fo­cus­ing on global dairy pro­duc­tion as well as look­ing at con­sumer trends and sub­se­quent mar­kets.

Dr Ju­dith Bryans, pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional Dairy Fed­er­a­tion, who set up the event with the help of the Dairy Coun­cil for North­ern Ire­land, said that 20 dairy pro­duc­ing coun­tries are now signed up to a global ini­tia­tive called the Dairy Dec­la­ra­tion of Rot­ter­dam on meet­ing the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment goals set by the United Na­tions.

Dr Bryans said that dairy pro­duc­ing coun­tries be­lieve in cre­at­ing a “health­ier planet”, ad­dress­ing in­equal­ity and lift­ing peo­ple out of poverty.

“We be­lieve in dairy. We have a strong story to tell in terms of nu­tri­tion and also the progress we are mak­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally. No sec­tor is per­fect and there is al­ways room for im­prove­ment but we have a vi­sion, we have our goals and we will spare no ef­fort in achiev­ing them.”

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