Senior members of the agri-food industry in Ireland have been urged to consider the development of a ‘National Food Strategy’, and to avoid complacency when it comes to meeting ongoing challenges in the sector.
The message was delivered at the ‘Shaping the Vision for Ireland’s Agri-Food Industry 2030’ conference in the Convention Centre, Dublin. The event was organised by Ceres, a new women-in-agri-business network, which aims to develop and promote leadership and diverse thinking within the industry.
Fiona Muldoon, CEO, FBD Insurance, who opened the conference, said the sector is packed with ‘professional, able, smart individuals’ who need to rise to the challenges the industry is currently facing.
“Political and currency risks have increased immeasurably over the last 12-18 months… In planning our roadmap to 2030, the challenge is that we must differentiate in a highly competitive and somewhat commoditised marketplace,” Ms Muldoon said.
In a panel discussion highlighting the agri-food industry’s obligation to continue to produce safe and nutritious food, Pamela Byrne, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), called for the development of a ‘National Food Strategy’.
“To ensure Ireland has a healthy society to support a growing economy, we need to have a coherent and integrated food strategy in place which promotes the widespread availability of safe, nutritious, and trustworthy food,” Ms Byrne said.
Contributing to a panel discussion on global trade, Brexit consultant, Lucinda Creighton of Vulcan Consulting, warned attendees on the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
“Ireland’s agri-food businesses need to prepare and act now. Ignore the sound-bites and assume the worst to put yourself in the best position to survive,” Ms Creighton said.