Bord Bia’s Origin Green Programme
This is a continuation of our series on the recent Farm to Fork Module where researchers wrote a summary of the presentations. This one by Aisling O’Connor from Padraig Brennan’s Session on Origin Green.
Padraig Brennan, representing Bord Bia introduced day two by providing a concise and informative update on the Irish food and drink sector and the future strategy of Bord Bia, and finally the role and value of Origin Green to the Irish agri-food sector. This is an exciting time to be involved in the Irish agri-food food sector, with 2016 being the 7th consecutive year of growth in the sector, and our various food and drinks products now being sold in 180 global markets responsible for approximately €11 billion euro! It was not surprising from Padraig Brennan’s presentation that prepared foods (48% of export growth in 2016) are the sector experiencing the largest growth. Although the majority of our food and drinks exports are destined for The United Kingdom (~40%), this market is quite volatile at the moment due to on-going negotiations regarding Brexit. On the other hand, we are seeing an increase exports to other countries within the EU and to international markets. The focus of Bord Bia for the future is on the potential for exports associated with International markets. In order to successfully penetrate these markets, Padraig Brennan explained how the mission statement of Bord Bia is to drive through these markets in a sustainable way in terms of environmental, social and economic sustainability. One of the main challenges here for the very near future, is the fact that Ireland being viewed as a “green and natural, grass-based system” of production is no longer substantial to our buyers, and the environmental impact of our products will soon have to be accurately quantified. This has been incorporated first at the farm level with the use of the Carbon navigator, through advisors, and education to farmers to increase their efficiency, and by research papers like (O’Brien et al., 2015) showing a positive correlation between reducing greenhouse gas emissions and farm profit