AGRICULTURE NEWS

IRELAND AGRI-FOOD STRATEGY: PLANS FOR ALL FARMS TO BE IN QA SCHEMES

There are plans to have all farms and seafood operators in quality assurance (QA) schemes under the 2030 Agri-Food Strategy, according to a draft document. According to the strategy, the plan to have all farms under QA schemes is part of a wider effort to enhance the value of Irish agri-food produce. Sectoral stakeholder groups will consider how to address barriers to entry to QA schemes for farmers, the strategy document says.

It also outlines that QA schemes will be continuously reviewed and updated so that they are in line with “enhanced expectations” in areas such as environmental performance; food safety standards; and animal health and welfare.

This plan comes under the second ‘Mission’ of the strategy, which deals with the viability and well-being of primary producers.

Specifically, one of the goals under this mission deals with improved distribution of value.

The document notes that QA schemes “provide customers with proven credentials”, as well as providing customers with the opportunity to “reward or incentivize” the primary producer. The strategy says that providing independently-verified evidence of “quality gains” maintains high-standards of quality and bolsters Ireland’s reputation in international markets. Several other actions are outlined under the ‘distribution of value’ goal, including actions to address unfair trading practices and also highlighted market and price transparency, producer organizations, certification, accreditation and geographical indicators.