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Minister Smith calls for improvement in functioning of Food Chain - Focus changing to a 'fork-to-farm' approach

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today said "there is a need for considerable improvement in the functioning of the food chain so that all players, including producers and consumers, receive fair treatment."

Minister Smith said that "in regard to market transparency, the main concern was the need to achieve a greater balance along the chain between producers, processors and retailers."  The Minister said that the need to involve all the stakeholders reflected the integrated nature of the food supply chain and what might be appropriately called the 'fork-to-farm' approach, given the increasing influence that the more discerning and demanding consumers are placing on producers and the manner in which producers are responding to the demands of the marketplace.

Minister Smith also noted that the demands of the consumers and the marketplace generally are impacting on the investment decisions of producers in the context of environmental and welfare considerations.

"Over recent years, my Department's policies have driven a change of focus within the agri-food industry from being producer-focused to being consumer-focused. This was a key element of the AgriVision 2015 Strategy and I have no doubt it will feature prominently in the forthcoming 2020 Strategy".  Minister Smith also said that "investment decisions of various key Irish-located multinational food companies are being increasingly influenced by issues relating to the quality of the primary produce and the flexibility of Irish primary producers."

Date Released: 11 March 2010