Teagasc Launch Road Maps for Farming and Food Sector
Irish agriculture is facing a period of change. The Food Harvest 2020 report sets out ambitious targets for the agriculture and food industry. Teagasc has outlined the developments required for each of the major farming enterprises and the food sector over the next seven years to 2018. The nine Teagasc Road Maps covering dairy, suckler beef, pigs, sheep, tillage, forestry, horticulture, food and the environment, summarize the expected changes in the shape and size of the individual sectors in the context of the main market and policy issues facing Irish producers in each enterprise. The Road Maps specifically set out the technical performance required at farm level to meet these targets. They take account of environmental and land use implications of these changes and Food Harvest 2020.
The nine Teagasc Road Maps were launched by the Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle in Dublin today, Friday, 15 April. Speaking at the launch Professor Boyle said: “There are clear opportunities for the Irish agriculture and food sector to grow and develop in the coming years, while providing a sustainable income for farmers and maintaining and protecting the environment.
Dr Tom Kelly, Director of Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said: “In all the major enterprises, high output from cost efficient production is required to meet the targets. Growth opportunities exist in the dairy sector, while there are opportunities to add value in the beef sector. The decline in sheep numbers over the last decade will reverse with a slight growth in numbers. Despite the current difficulties in the pigs sector due to high feed prices, it’s expected that there will be opportunities to grow Irish pigmeat production in the future.”
Head of the Crops, Environment and Land Use Programme in Teagasc, Dr Noel Culleton said:” The medium term outlook for the cereal sector is positive and the area of bioenergy crops is expected to increase to reduce Ireland’s dependence on energy imports. The Horticulture Road Map predicts a 15% increase in farm gate output, while the area of land planted with forestry is expected to increase to over 800,000 hectares. The five important environmental areas identified are nutrient efficiency, water quality, gaseous emission, biodiversity and soils.”
In the food sector, the focus is on the development of health enhancing food products, gut health research, new dairy product development and the infant milk formula sector. The Teagasc Road Maps explore the research and advisory actions required to support the Irish agri-food sector to achieve its potential.