Northern Ireland consults on Food Strategy

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Making Northern Ireland ‘a world-class food region, that provides safe, healthy and environmentally friendly food for the future’ is the central ambition of a recent Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)-led consultation.

The Framework focuses on six strategic priorities and will be a living document that is dynamic and responsive to changing circumstances.

The six strategic priorities include:

  • Building connections between health /wellbeing and food;
  • Building Sustainable Economic Prosperity;
  • Building a Food Culture and Food Conscious Society; Protecting and Enhancing our Natural Resources; Building Healthy Lives through Food Education; and
  • Building and maintaining appropriate Emergency Contingency plans across the supply chain.

DAERA Minister Edwin Poots commented on the consultation: “Northern Ireland is already renowned for its high-quality, tasty, welfare-focussed, award-winning and environmentally sustainable food.

“We punch well above our weight on the world stage and our food ends up on plates all across the globe.

“It’s now time to focus our efforts on taking such a fantastic product and ensuring we maximise its benefits for our local health, economy, environment and for the generations to come.

“There are major linkages across these areas that we must tap into in order to ensure Northern Ireland is recognised globally as the home of sustainable food – ensuring our food sector is able to adapt to future issues like climate change, and be able to feed a population that is more aware than ever of where their food comes from, how it gets to the plate and its impact on their health and on the planet.

“By working together, we can transform our food system into one that protects natural resources for future generations, is economically and environmentally sustainable and provides safe, nourishing, accessible food to people, who make informed healthy choices.

“In the last 100 years, NI’s food production has changed beyond recognition thanks to advancements in technology, scientific developments, the use of robotics, welcome improvements in animal welfare standards and our understanding of how we use our natural resources.

“I want everyone in Northern Ireland with an interest in food to have their say and tell us what they think about the Framework.

“Once the consultation is complete I intend to discuss the results with my Executive Colleagues and to consider publishing an agreed cross Departmental Food Strategy Framework for Northern Ireland.”

Subject to the outcome of this consultation exercise, it is anticipated that an agreed Framework would be published in early 2022.

The Northern Ireland Food Strategy Framework Consultation closes on 19th November 2021.

More information about this consultation and how to take part is available on the DAERA website.