According to a parliamentarian from Laois-Offaly, an Irish parliamentary constituency, the necessity of import of thousands of tons of potatoes and other food worth billions of euros suggests that the next Irish government should pay more attention to the sustainability of the food supply.
Member of Parliament Seán Fleming believes that Ireland should become less dependent on agricultural and consumer food imports to make the country’s food supply safer and more sustainable.
In 2018, Ireland imported more than € 9.7 billion into the agri-food sector and € 3.6 billion into processed food, totaling € 13.3 billion. The most common imports of agri-foodstuffs were animal foods, dairy products, beverages, vegetables and fruit and tea and coffee. According to civil society organizations, Ireland imported 72,000 tons of potatoes, 47,000 tons of onions, 29,000 tons of tomatoes, 23,000 tons of cabbage and 15,000 tons of lettuce in 2017.
“The ministry has explicitly excluded imports of prepared food for consumers from its 2018 annual report. I have now requested this information from the department. In any case, the situation now is that consumers are daily importing large quantities of imported food on the shelves of the find supermarkets. ”
“I think many people will be surprised that we have such a high import, especially of food products, which can be largely produced here. Everyone knows that Ireland is a major food exporter, with a total of € 16.3 bn in 2018, but based on figures from the Ministry of Agriculture itself, Ireland imports € 816 of products in the same categories for every € 1,000 of exports in the agri-food and processed food sectors. ”
“Food security and sustainability must be a priority for the next government,” said deputy Fleming.