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Coveney Confirms "Personal Commitment to Agri-Food and Fishing Sectors"

Industry Shares Minister's "positive outlook for Ireland’s most important indigenous sector"

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has chaired his first meeting of the High Level Implementation Committee on Food Harvest 2020 and restated his personal commitment to "driving forward the implementation phase to ensure that the targets are fully achieved and the potential of the agri-food and fishing sector is fully realised."

Minister Coveney said that "as a Minister with an enthusiasm for and personal commitment to the agri-food and marine sectors, I am taking an active role to ensure that the targets in Food Harvest 2020 are not alone met, but exceeded."  The Minister told the meeting, "everywhere I go, throughout the country, I see great potential and tremendous positivity in the agri-food and marine sectors and I want to see that positive attitude harnessed and turned into real economic growth."

The meeting was attended by key industry figures in the dairy, beef and consumer food sectors and the Minister told those present of his "strong belief in the tremendous contribution that the agri-food and marine sectors can make to the country’s economic recovery and job creation.” Minister Coveney said that there "are tremendous opportunities for the sector ahead and I want to work closely with those in the industry to drive progress, achieve results and significantly grow the sector, by meeting or exceeding the FH2020 targets of increasing the value of primary output by €1.5 billion, value-added outputs by €3 billion and exports to at least €12 billion.”

Industry representatives, present at the meeting, agreed with the Minister that the outlook for the sector is very positive, if the appropriate actions are taken by all concerned, and they confirmed their willingness to play their part in fully grasping this opportunity.

Acknowledging that there is an "enormous amount of work to be done if the potential of Ireland's most important indigenous industry is to be realised”, the Minister said “I intend to work extremely hard to vigorously promote this industry.  It is a key ambition of mine that it will play a full and very significant role in Irish economic recovery.  The growth prize, with its high embedded value to our rural and coastal economies and communities, is great and I intend that we fully achieve it."

The sector already employs up to 150,000 people and has an annual output of over €24 billion and is a huge export-orientated industry.  "There is a renewed interest in our sector throughout the country and I want to harness that interest.  Using the Committee, I am firmly focused on achieving the ambitious vision for 'smart, green growth' set out in the Food Harvest strategy."

Photo 1 PR 61/11 - 20.04.2011   Photo 2 PR 61/11   

Date Released: 20 April 2011