Farm Ireland
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Thursday 23 November 2017

Dairy sector warned to cater for 'risks'

Gerry Farrell, Roscommon Co-operative Livestock Mart registering with Sinead Farrell at the 37th ICOS National Conference in Portlaoise
Gerry Farrell, Roscommon Co-operative Livestock Mart registering with Sinead Farrell at the 37th ICOS National Conference in Portlaoise

Farmers are effectively in the international health business, according to one of the country's leading food health experts, Dr Pat Wall.

He told 170 co-op directors and management at the ICOS national conference in Portlaoise yesterday that the dairy sector needed to plan carefully for all potential risks.

"Consumers are increasingly health conscious. This extends to their perceptions of food and the companies and countries who are producing their food," said Dr Wall.

"Food businesses need to be acutely aware of this and have contingencies in place to manage and inform public confidence in the event of crisis."

The conference theme was managing risk with speakers from home and abroad.

"Thoughtless risks are destructive of value, but even more wasteful is 'thoughtless caution', which prompts inaction and prohibits business growth," said ICOS CEO Seamus O'Donohoe.

"Useful initiatives have already been taken by some co-ops in the area of fixed price schemes," he said.

"However, more work needs to be done on a collaborative basis to identify and develop income stabilising tools for farmers."

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