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Smith Highlights the Potential of the Food Sector to Contribute to Economic Reinvigoration

Speaking at the 'Ireland the Food Island' food and drink industry awards today, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD emphasised the importance of the Irish Food Industry.

"The Irish food industry is deeply embedded in the Irish economy and is vital to our future. It draws on our natural resources and the expertise of key market players to produce nearly one third of the net export earnings from primary and manufacturing industry which are so vital to our economy. As a sector where huge investment has been made in high standards of food safety and quality, it is also well placed to continue to contribute to the food security of millions beyond this island".

The Minister said that Ireland's Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal focuses on developing the Smart Economy and recognises the value and potential of the agriculture, fisheries and food sectors to contribute to economic reinvigoration including "greening of the economy". Minister Smith pointed out that the industry's ability to compete will depend on marketing the strengths of our natural resources and production methods, managing to international best, lean and sustainable standards and growing capacity to innovate and win sales.

"Developing strong business relationships through the supply chain, leveraging the capability in food research now available in the country and considering strategic consolidation can contribute to holding current markets and positioning the industry for growth in the new markets, which will emerge in the upturn".

Minister Smith said the shape of the CAP post 2013 will also impact on the future of the agri food industry. Food security and climate change will represent key global challenges requiring a strategic and joined up approach. They will also influence the ongoing work on the 2020 strategy for the development of the Irish agri food sector.

Date Released: 05 November 2009