Improving farm incomes is our core aim. This may be by adding value on farm by using farming systems that create products that consumers see as premium. It may be by supplying a high-value, equitable supply chain. Or it may just be by better farming.
A policy to centralize processing has left few farm-derived raw materials for processing by local people; thus removing a source of employment. lf the aim is to sell premium foods, local and 'artisan' is needed and not industrial-scale factory processing.
The widening gap between farmers and consumers is of great concern. If rural Ireland's communities are to survive value-added foods needs to be created locally and new routes to market have to be found to connect with the issues-aware consumer.
For several understandable reasons Ireland has continued to focus upon commodities. Their prices are now insufficient to sustain farm income. It is now about premium products with a unique and traceable identity and a story to tell to the consumer.