Irish agri-food sector needs more innovation and business acumen
Farm expansion on its own won't be enough to develop a sustainable agri-food industry according to a new report published by the Department of Agriculture's Agri-Food Strategy Group.
Increasing farm efficiency is a key element of the report said UCD professor, Michael Monaghan.
"To become more competitive in international markets, Irish agriculture will need to raise its technical and business capacities and the marketable quality of its produce, to ensure both its environmental sustainability and future economic success," he said.
"To achieve these twin goals, our report calls for significant investment at both EU and Member State levels in the development of sustainably-competitive food production systems."
Agricultural education is another major part of the report and the strategy group has highlighted it as its most important long-term policy.
Ex-Teagasc director Liam Downey said: "Perhaps the most important longer-term strategy advocated in the Agri-Food Strategy Report, is its call for a re-appraisal of educational and training provisions throughout the Sector.
"This is needed to ensure that the next generation of farmers and agriculturalists are better equipped to deal with increasingly complex business management decisions and multi-dimensional technical demands in the industry."
The report was launched by EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan and he stressed that innovation was crucial to the sector.