The Sustainable Farming Programme, which SuperValu announced last year, was launched by Minister of State Tom Hayes at the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre in Grange, Co Meath, yesterday.
Developed in conjunction with the Irish Farmers’ Association, Kepak and Teagasc, it is the first retailer-farmer programme to be launched in Ireland.
Ten Irish farms — eight beef and two sheep — have been selected to take part in the first phase of the two-year programme.
The aim is to assist farmers to deliver world- class standards in all areas of livestock production, enhancing produce quality and improving profitability for all partners in the supply chain.
A network of Teagasc advisors has been assigned to participating farms, which are located nationwide.
These advisers will help the farmers to enhance sustainability, farm efficiency, technical performance and profitability.
Modules they will cover include grassland manage- ment, market specifications, farm efficiency, carbon footprint analysis, herd health and breeding.
One of the main components is the production of livestock tailored to Irish consumer preferences.
Mr Hayes said this high- level food chain involvement with sustainable growth and green agricultural systems will be key to the continued expansion of the sector.
SuperValu managing director, Martin Kelleher, said: “We are the only retailer to uniquely stock 100% Irish beef, lamb, pork, bacon and chicken, all of which is born, bred and reared in Ireland.
“We believe in investing in local Irish produce whenever possible, providing our customers with top quality, fresh Irish food.”
Mr Kelleher said the programme underlines SuperValu’s ongoing commitment to the farming community, as it explores new initiatives to bring the best of Irish food to dinner plates across the country.
SuperValu, which has 201 stores across Ireland, said it is committed to local employment and supporting local suppliers.
It said 75% of everything on its shelves is sourced or produced in Ireland, contributing over €1.6bn to the Irish economy and helping to sustain almost 30,000 Irish jobs in the farm, food and retail sector.
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