Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020) is the high-level strategic policy document for the development of the agriculture, food, fisheries and forestry sector for the next decade. Its implementation, as well as the parallel negotiations at EU level to ensure an appropriate CAP policy and EU Budget framework post 2013 are the steps which I am pursing to ensure the continued economic environment of the agri-food sector.
I oversee the coordination of the state contribution to FH 2020 in conjunction with representatives from Bord Bia, Teagasc, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Enterprise Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my own Department. There is also regular engagement with various private sector groups with have a key role in developing the sector. Details of progress made on FH2020 are contained in the Food Harvest 2020 Milestones for Success report, see web link following. I anticipate that the 2nd progress report will be available next month. http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/ publications/2011/FoodHarvestProgressReport260711.pdf.
At European level, the future shape of the Common Agricultural Policy will be a key driver for the continued viability of family farms. In this respect I am pleased that the EU Commission's proposals for reform of the CAP are predicated on the principles of ensuring viable food production, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action as well as balanced territorial development. There is good support among my colleagues in the EU Council of Agriculture Ministers for these objectives and I would be confident that, notwithstanding differences about the details, future EU agricultural policy will recognise and reward the important contribution of the agri-food sector to economic recovery and growth and to sustainable development.