Hogan addresses major ASA Agrifood Conference held in Kilkenny

Christopher Dunne

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Christopher Dunne

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Phil Hogan

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan

The Agricultural Science Association (ASA) held its annual conference and in the Lyrath Convention Center last Friday.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Risk and Reward: a New Era for Agrifood’.

Prominent speakers included European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, as well as Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia CEO, Gregg Doud, US Chief Agricultural Negotiator and Gerry Boyle, Teagasc Director.

In the opening keynote speech Commissioner Hogan addressed the theme of the conference and remarked that: "Unfortunately, when it comes to Brexit, there are plenty of risks and not many rewards that I can see."

"It must be noted that EU solidarity with Ireland remains absolute and unwavering. Pragmatic solutions will be found to support Ireland and in particular the agrifood economy on the island of Ireland," he added.

US Chief Agricultural Negotiator Gregg Doud made it clear at the conference that trading with EU members is becoming increasingly challenging, and that a continuation of this trend has the capacity to affect farmers all the way down to a local level.

Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy, noted the positives of Ireland’s agri-food sector in relation to consumer demands both at home and abroad.  

"Ireland provides exactly what potential consumer markets want. Good, clean product," she said.

"We can develop ways to cope with volatility in the agrifood sector by diversifying our product and export destinations."