Hogan calls for sustainable ‘farm to fork’ agriculture
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.”