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New Strategy for the Irish Agri Food Sector to Improve Exports, Jobs

07 July 2015

IRELAND - Plans for a new ten year strategy for the Irish agri food sector has been announced by government. The new ten year strategy, Food Wise 2025, projects exports to increase to €19 billion and the creation of 23,000 new jobs by 2025.

Food Wise 2025 was officially launched by An Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD who stated: The Government is rebuilding an economy that is enterprise focused and can support sustainable full employment by 2018. This means growing each enterprise sector across the economy and creating jobs in all four corners of Ireland. Ireland's agri-food industry has led the way in Ireland's recovery. Food Wise 2025 builds on this success by identifying smarter and greener ways to deliver sustainable growth so that it can contribute to our ongoing recovery."

Speaking at the launch, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, said: “Ireland’s agri-food industry is on a sustainable journey, one that is connecting local communities across the island to vast and diverse food markets around the globe. Food Wise 2025 sets out a vision for the industry to continue along this path of sustainable growth and recognises the strategic importance of specific market and consumer insights if emerging global opportunities are to be fully realised in the decade ahead.”

Global demand for high quality, safe and nutritious food continues to grow rapidly and there is ever increasing demand in particular in emerging markets in Asia and Africa. The world wants more food but also wants more sophisticated food solutions to match modern lifestyles, different life-stage requirements and to deliver nutritional and health benefits.

Food Wise 2025 predicts that over the next decade Ireland can:

  • increase the value of agri food exports by 85 per cent to €19 billion,
  • increase value added to the sector by 70 per cent to €13 billion,
  • increase the value of primary production by 65 per cent to €10 billion.

This should deliver a further 23,000 jobs in the agri food sector by 2025.

The key messages from Food Wise 2025 are:

  • The Irish agri-food sector has been very resilient throughout the recent economic turbulence with significant development within the sector. Food and Drink exports have out-performed other sectors of the economy (45 per cent growth in Irish Ag-food exports compared to 4 per cent for overall merchandise exports 2009-2014 period)
  • Food Wise 2025 has new ambitions for the sector for further growth, growth which is sustainable – economically, socially and environmentally
  • Food Wise 2025 has harnessed the collective wisdom, experience and knowledge of leading industry stakeholders and sets a course for the industry of smarter greener more sustainable growth over the next decade
  • Food Wise 2025 is a statement of intent from the industry to capitalise on a host of new growth opportunities arising from the ever-increasing global demand for food and for new and innovative food solutions. Ireland is well placed to meet these demands given our comparative advantage in producing a range of sustainable, safe, nutritious and innovative food products.

“This modern, vibrant industry provides exciting opportunities for educated, innovative and entrepreneurial people to realise their own aspirations and drive the sector towards ambitious new levels of growth and development over the coming decade,” added Minister Coveney.

Minister of State Tom Hayes T.D. said: “Food Wise 2025 captures the considerable complexity of the agri food sector and highlights that getting our future priorities right will be fundamental to growing our most valuable indigenous industry including the forestry and horticulture sectors.”

Speaking at the launch Minister of State Ann Phelan TD, commented: “I am particularly heartened by the focus in the report on rural diversification, entrepreneurial development and agri-food and marine tourism. These elements are key to the sustained development of rural communities and I am now looking forward to the implementation phase which will have a positive impact on rural communities right across the country”.

With over 350 recommendations, Food Wise 2025 is very detailed. That detail is vital. Food Wise 2025 sets out a comprehensive plan for the development of Ireland’s agri-food sector over the next decade. Getting our future priorities right will be fundamental to growing our most valuable indigenous industry. Food Wise 2025 captures the considerable complexity of this sector. It underlines its unique and special position within the Irish economy and illustrates the potential for significant further growth within the sector.

‘Local Roots Global Reach’ is the key theme of Food Wise 2025. It is a sector unlike any other given its strategic importance to the Irish economy, its roots in local communities throughout the country and its rapidly increasing global reach.

Sustainability is a major aspect of this report. As part of the Food Wise 2025 process, a draft Environmental Analysis Report (incorporating a Strategic Environmental Assessment and an Appropriate Assessment) has been prepared in parallel and this environmental assessment has been taken into account in drafting Food Wise 2025. The draft Environmental Analysis Report is now available on the Department’s website and an eight week public consultation period runs to Friday the 28 August.

Minister Coveney concluded by saying: “I am committed to putting in place a robust implementation process to monitor progress and deliver on the ambitious projections in the report.”

ThePigSite News Desk

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