The significance of new possibilities for Irish agriculture is well versed and understood. The opportunity to expand food production in Ireland can undoubtedly offer greater rewards, but it also involves considerably enhanced financial risks and significant economic and environmental sustainability issues.
At this critical juncture, Ireland must adopt a ‘smarter’ strategy to ensure the equitable development and longer-term success of its agri-food sector. This will require a radical new model of collective support and enablement in agri-food policy, including the commitment of technical, scientific and educational resources needed to improve the Sector’s performance in all the multiple dimensions of agri-food concerns on the global stage.
A revision to the design of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has a potentially important role to play in stimulating and accelerating the development of solutions to the challenges inherent in food production in the 21st century.
Irish agriculture effectively stands at a ‘tipping point’ in the necessary development of a new approach to food production that can successfully navigate significant technical, financial, organisational and educational challenges.
As a major food exporter with already widely perceived ‘green credentials’, Ireland has much to gain by adopting a leadership role in the improvement of performance in all economic, environmental and societal dimensions of its agriculture.
As it seeks to respond to both market and environmental opportunities and challenges, Irish agriculture needs to prioritise progress and improvement in several key strategic directions, and give further consideration to a number of proposed overarching strategic initiatives.