CONFIDENCE is back in Irish agriculture ‘in a big way’ according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD who made the remark after spending three days at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy.
This year’s Championships were the best attended ever in the eighty-year history of the event with more than 190,000 people making their way to the venue over the three days.
During the Championships, Mr McEntee met a top-level delegation of agricultural experts from the People’s Republic of China who were in Ireland to review food safety, traceability and animal husbandry.
Mr McEntee commented afterwards, “China is a good example of how the growing international demand for our main production lines. There is more investment in new added value products by processors both large and small-scale artisan. We are well on the way to achieving the ambitious targets for exports set out in the Food Harvest 2020 Plan. We face challenges at EU level but we are working flat out to overcome these.”
Earlier this year, the Minister of State had formal discussions with the Chinese Vice-Minister for Agriculture, when he visited Ireland, and he recently met the newly-appointed Chinese Ambassador to Ireland. Later this year, or early next year, the Taoiseach will lead a delegation to China when it is expected that the two countries will sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will give a major boost to agricultural trade and co-operation.