New government must support integrated approach to agri-food sector growth

Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), the Ibec group that represents the food and drink sector, today published its 'Policy priorities for the food and drink sector 2016' (PDF attached) which sets out the policies the new Government needs to implement to support growth and job creation in the agri-food economy.

FDII Director Paul Kelly said: "The key priorities for the food and drink sector run across different parts of Government and need to be addressed in a co-ordinated way.”

FDII are calling for:

    A relentless focus on manufacturing cost competitiveness, particularly government influenced costs like energy and waste

    Improved access to lower cost finance to ensure the industry can invest in enabling technology, plant renewal and expansion

    Free trade agreements and market access that are aligned with the needs of all the industry

    A continued focus on food sector innovation and skills development with increased budgets for enterprise led training

    Avoidance of discriminatory measures like sugar taxes on beverages which impact on consumers and business alike with no net public health benefit

“The food and drink industry is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector with 230,000 linked jobs. The sector has seen exports grow by over 50% since 2009 to reach €10.8 billion in 2015. The strong ambition within the sector is reflected in the €19 billion export target in Food Wise 2025. However, this ambition is grounded in the reality that Ireland’s food and drink industry faces many challenges in domestic and export markets. These include commodity volatility and market access difficulties; costly and difficult access to finance which is necessary for expansion; import competition in the domestic marketplace and increased calls to impose taxes and restrict choice whilst ignoring positive industry initiatives.

“The National Agri-food strategy Food Wise 2025 doesn’t ignore these challenges and identifies a number of cross–cutting areas that require strategic action if the industry is to capitalise on, deliver and maximise the growth opportunities in the years to 2025. The cross-cutting actions that will facilitate this growth are identified as human capital, competitiveness, market development and innovation. Many of these actions run across different Government Departments and Agencies or are influenced by EU or international developments and policies. Comprehensive and co-ordinated Government engagement is essential to help create the environment for industry to deliver growth and jobs,” concluded Mr Kelly.

logo - Twitter