It was with particular reference to future developments at European and international level that I originally formed the agri-food 2010 committee in June 1999. The committee's terms of reference were "to propose a strategy for the development of Irish agriculture and food over the next decade, following the agreement on Agenda 2000, and in light of the changes and challenges which are likely to evolve nationally and internationally over that period". The committee took account of the likely direction of changes in both the WTO and the CAP following Agenda 2000. The committee's main report was published in March 2000.
The Government's reaction to the agri-food 2010 report was published in the agri-food 2010 plan of action in August 2000. The plan of action set out a range of activities designed to strengthen and improve the ability of the Irish agri-food sector to best meet future challenges. The plan of action included 197 specific action points and a commitment to ongoing monitoring, which was further enshrined in the Department's statement of strategy for 2001-04. I published the agri-food 2010 implementation report in December 2001 to deliver on this commitment and to demonstrate the ongoing importance of the agri-food 2010 report. This report found that of the 197 action points 94% had either been successfully undertaken or had seen significant work undertaken.
The vision of the 2010 report, to which the Government is committed, provides full and part-time farmers with every available option to achieve a viable level of farm household income and to have a sustainable future in agriculture. However, bringing about the positive vision of the agri-food 2010 report requires significant action by all players in the industry, including producers, processors and exporters. The Government's role has been to provide a sustainable environment and a support framework and the level of implementation reflects a successful carry out of that role. I am satisfied that the agri-food action plan will prepare our agri-food industry to address the challenges that may emerge from the mid-term review of Agenda 2000, EU enlargement or the WTO negotiations. I am committed to ensuring that those three strands of negotiations provide a favourable framework for the development of the Irish agri-food sectors and of rural communities into the future.