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Minister Of State Wallace Launches National Dairy Council's Strategic Plan

Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, today launched the National Dairy Council's new five year Strategic Plan in front of a large audience from the Irish dairy industry and in advance of the inaugural meeting of the European Dairy Marketing Forum.

The National Dairy Council (NDC) was established in 1964 with the aim of supporting the Irish dairy industry by promoting the positive position and consumption of milk and dairy products through marketing and communications programmes based on informed scientific evidence. Following an organisational review last year, the NDC decided to reposition its services to become a key agency in the dairy support infrastructure. The new Strategic Plan has been designed to realise that goal.

Welcoming the Strategic Plan, Minister Wallace noted that it is being launched at an exciting time for the Irish dairy sector. "The dairy sector is of vital importance to Ireland. It provides employment for around 34,000 farmers, workers in the processing sector and those engaged in support and ancillary services. Some 85% of Irish dairy products are exported representing one quarter of all food and drink exports. In 2007 that trend continued, despite the difficulties caused by the dollar exchange rate. Last year exports increased by 13% to 2.36 billion euro, a record performance. Against this background it is very encouraging to see that the National Dairy Council is focused on meeting the challenges which lie ahead."

Coinciding with the NDC strategy launch, the inaugural meeting of the European Dairy Marketing Forum will take place, which is made up of leading dairy marketing executives from companies and dairy marketing organisations across Europe. Minister Wallace also commented: "the future for milk and dairy products clearly lies in increased value added and strong marketing. Having the heads of Europe's leading dairy marketing organisations together here today to share information and experiences is very important in this light."

Date Released: 30 April 2008