Food Wise 2025

Sectoral Briefs

Chapter 7 - Sectoral Briefs

Dairy

Strengths

  • Low cost grass fed production
  • Low carbon intensity production and sustainability credentials
  • Reputation for world class food safety standards
  • Access to 130 export destinations
  • High levels of recent investment at processing and farm level
  • World class research capability

Weaknesses

  • Comparative lack of scale at processing level
  • Commodity product mix
  • Seasonality of production
  • Skills availability
  • Low rate of land mobility

Opportunities

  • Production expansion with end of milk quotas
  • Scope to move up value chain with focus on more B2C, IF, ingredients and nutrition products
  • Increased importance of third  country markets (China, Africa, Gulf, US)
  • Green sustainable systems allowing for  differentiation and branding
  • Somatic Cell Count – cellcheck to improve quality

Threats

  • Food safety incident
  • Animal disease outbreak
  • Cross contamination
  • Raw material supply
  • Extreme price volatility
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

 

 

The dairy industry is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous industries and is central to the agri food sector. It is an export driven sector with exports of dairy products and ingredients valued at over €3bn in 2014.  With the quota regime now consigned to history, the freedom to realise the full potential of the dairy sector in terms of output, export earnings, rural employment and investment is upon us.

The vision of Ireland’s growth proposition in the dairy sector is and will be based on strong foundations; a competitive advantage conferred by a natural, grass based production system that supports sustainable intensification; a strong international reputation for high standards of quality and food safety; and on the kind of global demographics that mean demand for dairy and other food products will increase significantly in line with increasing population and affluence. This shared vision can in many respects be seen to have been borne out of the cross sector planning and foresight that was invested into preparation for a post quota environment. This is also reflected in the large scale investment made by processors and farmers in the last five years, amounting to €2billion. Underpinning these factors are the kind of resilience and ingenuity that has seen our dairy co- ops build global brands and reputations.

Ireland is renowned both for its relatively high productivity and for being an early adopter of new technologies at producer level. A major feature of production in Ireland is the seasonality of milk supply, caused by farmers adjusting the date of calving to maximise the use of grazed grass in the cows’ diet in an attempt to produce milk at as low a cost as possible.

While there are undoubted expansionary and growth opportunities for dairy farmers in the post-quota which have brought much welcomed optimism and positivity to the sector, such sentiments needs to be grounded in pragmatism and focus on the important metrics that will bring enhanced profitability at farm level and which also respect the natural environment. Expansion and growth of the dairy herd and milk output in an unbridled manner is not a prescription endorsed by this Strategy, it is important that focus is instead placed on improving the real drivers of profitability; grassland management, breeding/ herd fertility and cost control. Thus in harmony with this Strategy’s vision of sustainable intensification, increased emphasis must  be placed on metrics such as optimum stocking rate, grass grown, milk solids per hectare and levels of concentrates fed. Otherwise we risk eroding our competitive advantage as well as damaging the environment.

Historically, Ireland’s dairy product mix was weighted towards commodity output. More recent years have been witness to an increased emphasis on adding value, for example as with infant formula production and ingredients for same, higher value premium cheeses and butters as well as nutrition products and ingredients. Notwithstanding this the fact remains that in comparison to the processing sector of our major competing dairy export countries Ireland’s processing industry is both fragmented and comprises of smaller scale processors. This compares to the situation in Denmark where Arla processes over 90% of the milk pool or the Netherlands where FrieslandCampina processes over 60% of the milk pool.

In this context, an overriding consideration for the dairy sector will be the need to continually improve processing competitiveness, increase scale and improve cost efficiency through consolidation, where feasible, to encourage collaboration between processors to optimise costs and investment. The promotion of diversification of the dairy product mix into higher value products as well as the diversification and deepening of our export trade into new and existing markets represent two sides of the same coin in terms of realising the dairy sector’s export potential.

The increased production of infant formula products has evolved significantly in Ireland over the recent past, as illustrated in the graphic. Furthermore, it is clear that products with a nutrition focus represent a growing and increasingly mainstream market. A number of Irish companies have already invested significantly in the sector on foot of this increased potential. Continued research and innovation by the Irish dairy sector into areas such as sports or functional food nutrition will create opportunities for moving up the value chain and facilitating expansion which will be of benefit to the overall indigenous economy.

The opportunity for the dairy sector is immense with increases in global population and the ‘middle classes’ plus more westernised diets in the fast developing world. Whilst hugely important, these demand led factors will not of themselves underpin the success of Ireland’s efforts if we are not best in class in terms of the products that we supply. By best in class we mean safe, high quality and sustainably produced, and being able to verify these criteria objectively, credibly and most importantly, to the satisfaction of international customers.

The priority actions for the dairy sector are:

  1. Driving on-farm competitiveness
  2. Managing price volatility
  3. Environment and sustainability
  4. Furthering our reputation on international markets
  5. Added value through research and innovation

 

Actions:

All milk producers should be strongly encouraged to carry out grass measurement as the efficient use of grass is one of the key advantages of the Irish dairy sector

Strategies should be developed to increase the fertility of Irish grassland soils in order to address deficiencies in P, K and lime

Dairy farmers should set a target of increasing grass utilisation to 10 tonnes/ha

Continue to leverage the benefits of genomic technology to help maintain the rate of genetic improvement in the dairy sector to maximise resource use efficiency and lower emissions

Industry stakeholders need to ensure that sexed semen continues to be rolled out to Irish dairy farmers and that continued research in the technology is undertaken

Increase the number of farmers that complete profit monitors or other cost management tools

An increased awareness among milk producers and others in the dairy sector in relation to the key issues surrounding fixed price contracts and financial management skills should be facilitated, including an increased use of cash flow budgeting and monitoring tools to help cope with milk price volatility

Processors should prioritise the development of fixed price contracts and other volatility tools for their suppliers.  Equally dairy exporters  should develop fixed price contracts from the customers back to the exporter

The issues around the possibility of developing a mechanism including mutual funds such as a reinsurance scheme should be examined to minimise risk for processors and give farmers confidence regarding price

The Government will ensure that the tax system as it specifically applies to farmers should  remain under review to establish if there is further scope to take account of income volatility faced by dairy farmers

Engagement by processors, producers and the Department with the Milk Market Observatory should be enhanced

Origin Green will be a key marketing tool and should be fully supported at all levels of the industry within an ambitious time frame. The verifiable sustainability credentials of Irish dairy products will be a key marketing advantage under this programme and Ireland will be positioned as a leading supplier of sustainable dairy products across all markets

Industry will continue to focus on the development of value added products whilst ensuring, insofar as possible, that the maximum value possible is retained indigenously

In line with the findings of the Report on Smart Ageing which was presented to Government in April 2015, opportunities for the development of dairy based foods in this sector will be examined

Ireland's success in added value sectors such as farmhouse, artisan and higher end cheeses and butters will continue to be recognised, developed and encouraged

The scope for continuous efficiency improvements must be continuously pursued against competitive benchmarks

The response to environmental challenges in areas such as emissions, water quality and biodiversity must be centrally co-ordinated and must highlight Ireland’s key leadership role in balancing more intensive production with environmental concerns

The Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS) must include all dairy farmers as an immediate priority

Beef

Strengths

  • Grass reared, welfare friendly production system
  • Specialist suckler beef production
  • Cattle and beef traceability systems
  • Credible and sustainable quality assurance scheme
  • High penetration of high-end retail outlets across the EU
  • Strong reputation in traditional markets
  • Capacity and capability to meet demand

Weaknesses

  • Land transfer, mobility and structural issues
  • Low profitability at farm level and dependence on direct payments
  • Skill gaps at all levels of the supply chain
  • National cost competitiveness, especially utilities and labour
  • Lack of scale across the sector combined with demographic factors
  • Dependency on the UK market while the reputation of Irish beef is less well known in new and developing markets

Opportunities

  • Global growth in protein demand
  • Developing a brand image for Irish beef based on superior attributes to secure additional markets and price premiums
  • Building Ireland’s reputation for beef production in new markets (USA, Africa and Asian markets, particularly China) which can absorb any increased production
  • Use of genomics, breeding indices and sexed semen to improve beef quality output from the dairy herd and technical efficiencies in the suckler herd
  • Potential markets for niche high grade products
  • Fifth quarter and meat by-products

Threats

  • Impact of animal disease incident
  • Food safety incident
  • Health image of beef products
  • Raw material supply changes linked to dairy expansion
  • Failure to adopt carbon efficient practices
  • Potential negative impacts of trade deals
  • Future CAP reform

 

The beef sector is among the most important Irish indigenous industries. There are over one hundred thousand farms contributing to beef production in Ireland. The Irish sector is mainly broken into suckler producers, fatteners and cattle finishers, with about 1.75 million head of cattle sent for slaughter in Irish meat processing plants and slaughterhouses in 2014. Beef accounts for 34% of the gross output of the agriculture sector (excluding forage). Beef exports in 2014 amounted to 524,000 tonnes, worth €2.27 billion, representing a 50% increase in value compared to 2010.

Ireland exports 90% of the beef produced here. It is the biggest net exporter of beef in the EU and the 5th biggest in the world. In addition to beef exports, Ireland also has a strong live export trade to Europe and beyond, with over 236,000 animals being exported in 2014 worth over €172million.

It is beef from the suckler herd that has principally enabled us to succeed on international retail markets. It is important, therefore, at least to maintain, and make more profitable, the current level of suckler beef production. The sub-sector, however, remains under considerable economic pressure. This underlines the importance of maintaining current support for suckler farming and improving it in the future linked to clearly defined technical improvements.

The strong reputation of Irish grass fed beef production in traditional markets (not necessarily all international markets) is an asset which can be further exploited and leveraged in the period to 2025 to ensure greater penetration of high value markets both in the EU and in third countries. Increased innovation in all aspects of the processing and marketing of beef products has the potential to deliver increased returns across the supply chain.

The priority actions for the beef sector are:

  1. Driving on-farm competitiveness
  2. Enhanced supply chain interaction and information flows
  3. Furthering our reputation on international markets
  4. Adding value through R&D
  5. Environment and sustainability

 

Actions:

Increase fertility levels and decrease calving intervals in suckler herds

Facilitate the rapid operationalisation of all aspects of the Beef HealthCheck programme, including batch-level, herd-level and geographic reporting

Facilitate the further development of resources and information to encourage livestock producers to place an economic value on the biosecurity of their holdings

Leverage the benefits of the recent adoption of genomics technology in the beef sector to improve the  genetic quality of the national breeding herd though inter alia, maximising participation in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, to help lower emissions and improve farm competiveness

Exploit potential of genomics to add value at farm level by improving breeding and at processing level in areas such as meat quality and meat tenderness

Further develop the potential use of sexed semen for breeding selection and improving genetic profile and profitability of the proportion of the beef herd coming from the dairy sector

Intensify the level of research aimed at informing the formulation of the breeding indexes used in the sector and the distribution of the traits therein

Focus on net margin per hectare as a measure of profitability and kilograms of beef produced per hectare as a suitable measure of efficiency

Increase the number of livestock farmers in Knowledge Transfer Programme

Develop infrastructure through knowledge transfer programmes and farmer education to ensure improved grassland management. This will include increasing the proportion of grassland  farmers participating in weekly grass measurement from 1,250 today to 3,000 by 2020 and 5,000 by 2025

Support research efforts and knowledge transfer tools to better utilise the beef output from the dairy bred calves in a systemised manner

Review mechanism for linking the knowledge developed on Teagasc/Farmer’s Journal BETTER Farm Beef Programme and the new Suckler Cow demonstration farm in Athenry with widespread application at farm level

Develop a uniform approach to the supply of clean cattle underpinned by research in this area

Increased level of communication and engagement with and between processors and producers in terms of marketplace developments

Explore options to increase data availability on traded volumes by channel across the whole supply chain, to increase transparency and better inform stakeholder understanding of market returns

Increase and expand contractual supply arrangements between producers and processors

Focus on assisting the production of the market required carcass specification and production systems which are designed to maximise return both to the farmer and the processing industry

Engage with retail customers to develop a partnership approach to the production of Irish beef, ensuring a harmonised and collaborative approach to market specifications, price points and farm management practices

Develop sectoral indicators, analysis and service delivery models which differentiates the sector in terms of farm size/labour requirement of farmers in the industry

Develop further and build a strong brand image for Irish beef capable of securing a significant price premium at retail and food service market outlets

Develop markets for fifth quarter products through enhanced marketing capabilities and through enhanced market access

Dedicated and adequately resourced DAFM beef market access team to identify, develop, reinforce and secure new third country markets as well as supporting the trade in live exports

Defend interests of the Irish beef sector in international trade agreements pursued by the EU, particularly in light of competitive threat posed by the US and Mercosur

Investigate and develop viable alternative markets for the additional prime cattle arising from dairy herd expansion

Building on the launch of Irish beef into the US, implement a strategy for the premium positioning of Irish beef as sustainable and grass fed resulting in a growth of exports into high end retail and foodservice outlets

Investigate opportunities for including animal welfare standards and human health benefits of grass fed beef in the marketing messages for Irish beef

Explore options for increased returns from meat and bone meal, and tallow through industry and agency R&D

Develop early warning/surveillance systems, vaccines and intervention strategies for the rapid recognition, prevention and control of livestock diseases

Explore options for alternative funding models for research in the sector, including contributions from the industry

Complete the establishment of the Meat Technology Centre

Explore research projects on the advantages of Irish grass fed beef systems in comparison with other production systems with regards to animal welfare, health and taste along with any other relevant areas. This should include a consideration as to the definition of ‘grass fed’

Consider the merits of developing a standing national resource with expertise in the field of animal health economics and disease modelling

Ensure the availability of the appropriate skills throughout the supply chain, including providing adequate training  in butchery skills to the processing sector

Seek to maintain support for suckler producers in the current CAP arrangements and prioritise that support in future negotiations on the post 2020 policy

Any increased support for suckler cow production should be conditional on quantity and technical efficiency improvement

Competitive financing packages required for acquisitions to improve foreign market presence.

Seek to ensure origin labelling requirements across all sectors reflect the appropriate balance between consumer demand and increased cost to consumers and industry

Seek to minimise the impact of mandatory labelling requirements on the competitiveness of Irish exports on EU markets

Increase farmer participation in Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme (BLQAS) to 90% in terms of proportion of output by 2025

Develop strong reputation for quality and environmental sustainability of Irish beef with customers, competent authorities in target markets and NGOs building on the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (Origin Green) and optimise the use of this brand reputation in the market place

Sheep

Strengths

  • Grass based production systems
  • Good export performance
  • High net value added product
  • Breed improvement programmes
  • Credible and sustainable quality assurance scheme
  • Positive socio-economic and environmental impact in hill/mountain areas

Weaknesses

  • Seasonality of supply
  • Viability of sheep farming is heavily dependent on direct supports to the producer
  • Higher age profile of sheep farmers
  • High relative price point at consumer level
  • Lack of significant third country markets outside the EU

Opportunities

  • Securing access to new markets in Asia, Africa and North America
  • Growing ethnic population
  • Growing demand in China is leading to reduced NZ imports into Europe
  • Expand its product range and exploit the image of sheepmeat as a particularly natural healthy product

Threats

  • Food safety incident
  • Disease outbreak
  • Difficulty to maintain consumption levels
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

 

Sheep

Primary output from the sheep industry is currently worth about €230 million, a value which has grown significantly in recent years. Over two thirds of output is exported - exports in 2014 totalled 44,759 tonnes, with a value of €218m. A significant factor which has driven this value growth has been the move towards boneless product. It is estimated that 65% of our sheep meat exports is in the form of boneless/break out product.

The sheep sector is heavily dependent on the export market as the domestic consumption is usually only about 30% of overall production.  The core markets remain France and the UK with the French market usually representing double that of the UK. This reflects the strong demand and reputation in France for Irish lamb and also the consumer preference in the UK for British product. The growth markets in Europe are Sweden, Germany and Belgium with Sweden for example now representing our third most important market.

Outside the EU market, opportunities are more limited with Hong Kong being the primary destination of Irish sheepmeat followed by lower volume markets in North Africa. Securing access to Canada in 2013 has delivered new business and efforts to open the markets in US and China are ongoing.

The application of the latest scientific knowledge to the business of sheep breeding in Ireland is only in its infancy in comparison to programmes for beef and dairy. The establishment of Sheep Ireland and the buy-in from stakeholders is improving matters. The Sheep Technology Adoption Programme introduced by DAFM has played a major role in encouraging technology adoption at farms while also requiring participants to undertake a number of farm tasks. These farm tasks make use of the best technologies available to sheep farmers in Ireland while also encouraging improved breeding through the use of a Sheep Ireland performance recorded ram. It is intended that this work will be continued through the Knowledge Transfer groups for sheep farmers under the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020.

Actions:

Genetic improvement: focus on ewe fertility and on breeding resilience and resistance to diseases which impact on the productivity of flocks, such as foot-rot and on improving the consistency of product supplied to processors

Work collaboratively with processors, Bord Bia, Teagasc and Sheep Ireland to modify the very seasonal nature of Ireland’s sheepmeat supply, and maintain our presence, and access to markets throughout the year

Increase farmer participation in Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme (BLQAS) to 90% in terms of proportion of output by 2025

Add value to exports by further moving from exporting entire carcases to pre-packaged boneless cuts through wider market access

Engage further with Sheep Ireland on the design and implementation of breeding indices based on marketing insights

Increase sheep farmer participation in Knowledge Transfer Programmes

Enhance hill farming systems by promoting greater integration with lowland sheep producers

DAFM to continue to support and engage with Sheep Ireland on their work to drive better genetic gain for the flock

Underpin and further improve Ireland’s sheep traceability system

Teagasc to undertake a review of their  sheep research and advisory programmes

Improve the consumer perception of lamb with the younger demographic as a healthy, convenient protein choice

Build a strong brand image for Irish lamb based on its sustainable grass based production to secure outlets and price premium

Implement generic promotion of lamb across France, Belgium and Germany and compete for further EU funding post 2017

Develop a Carbon Navigator tool for sheep producers

Develop strong reputation for quality and environmental sustainability of Irish beef with customers, competent authorities in target markets and NGOs building on the Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (Origin Green) and optimise the use of this brand reputation in the market place

Pigmeat Sector

Strengths

  • Premium quality product with full traceability
  • Value-added capability
  • Strong genetics capability
  • Increasing global demand driven by emerging economies
  • Strong domestic market for Irish product
  • Credible and sustainable quality assurance scheme

Weaknesses

  • Reliance on imported feed means Irish pig sector is a feed ‘price-taker’
  • National cost competitiveness i.e. energy, labour and transport
  • Margins remain under pressure
  • Small unit size relative to competitors
  • Lack of investment/access to finance
  • Animal health issues

 

Opportunities

  • Pigmeat is the most consumed meat worldwide
  • Potential growth on domestic market
  • Presence in diverse markets can provide a platform for entry into new markets
  • Development of Irish Pork Brand
  • Extending market access in China to all pigmeat products
  • Pig genetics to develop better breeding stock

Threats

  • Scale of competitors
  • Increasing input costs
  • Food safety incident
  • Import displacement
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment 

 

The Irish pigmeat industry accounted for almost 8% (excluding forage) of the output value of the agri-food sector in 2014 and is the third most important sector after dairy and beef. There are approximately 440 commercial pig producers producing about 3.5 million pigs annually. The pig industry supports approximately 7,000 jobs including production, slaughter, processing, feed manufacture and services. 

Although, demand for pigmeat worldwide continues to increase the industry faces challenges from high feed and energy costs. The reliance on imported feed poses a continuing challenge for the sector due to volatility in cereal prices. In order to remain competitive, the industry requires a highly skilled, trained workforce and must achieve higher levels of efficiency.

The threat of disease outbreak in the sector underscores the ongoing focus on animal health and disease prevention and control strategies. The Rural Development Plan (TAMS II) includes funding targeted at improved farm animal health and welfare, in addition to funding for housing, investments in energy, water meters and medicine dispensers which will benefit the sector.

The Irish pig sector competes in an international environment. Producers and processors face ongoing challenges from both other EU and international competitors and they must continually innovate and improve to maintain their presence in the international marketplace. They are also reliant on existing markets remaining open (the closure of the Russia market in 2014 is an example of the volatility which market closures can bring). However market access opportunities secured by DAFM in Vietnam and the Philippines are helping to off-set the effects of closures elsewhere.

The research and targeted promotional work being carried out by a wide range of stakeholders, together with the acknowledgement of the quality, sustainability and competitiveness of Irish pig meat will help to position the sector in the future. The payment by pig producers of a levy must be acknowledged as a significant contributory factor here and a review of the levy should take place.

Actions:

 

Investment in pig production facilities particularly energy efficiency to reduce input costs

Collaboration with the tillage sector to create commercial opportunities for pig manure

Explore feasibility of alternative slurry usage and disposal options, such as anaerobic digestion

Explore opportunities for greater use of quality assured produce in food service

Engage further with non intensive sector to ensure standards of bio-security are understood and implemented

Explore extension of country of origin labelling to loose and processed products

Stakeholder group to examine the challenges associated with animal health / welfare within the pig industry and to bring forward a recommended plan for collective action

Agreement on and implementation of revised  Pig Salmonella Control Programme

Use Origin Green in trade marketing to develop preference for and to distinguish Irish produce in international markets

The industry to scope out an effective marketing message with Bord Bia
Invest and strengthen the position of the Quality Mark on the domestic market positioning pigmeat as a versatile, healthy option with consumers

Roll out a carbon footprinting assessment and improvement programme for pigs

Opening of upgraded pig research facility in Moorepark with prompt dissemination of research findings to the industry

Support pig farms by researching grain varieties in the tillage sector for feed use

Poultry

Strengths

  • Low cost protein in retail and food service markets
  • Strong domestic market demand for fresh Irish product
  • Diverse presence in international markets for by-products and fifth quarter offals
  • Farm to fork traceability, Bord Bia Poultry
  • Credible and sustainable quality assurance scheme

Weaknesses

  • Cheap imports
  • Irish production not at ‘complex’ scale
  • Over-reliance on domestic market
  • Feed prices are significant input costs due to import charges
  • Majority of product in food services sector consists of cheaper imports

 

Opportunities

  • Market access to China and growing utilisation of fifth quarter and by-products
  • Global protein markets
  • Consolidation of sector to complex scale
  • Food origin labelling may give Irish product a competitive advantage
  • Value-added by-products

Threats

  • Competition from imports sourced in Thailand
  • Uncompetitive input costs
  • Food safety incidents
  • Disease outbreaks
  • Lack of investment at farm and production level
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

The poultry sector is an important sector in the Irish economy accounting for almost 2% of agricultural output and about 6,000 jobs primarily in rural areas.

Poultry is considered a cost-effective, versatile and healthy source of protein and consumption has continued to grow over the last few years. The predominant outlet for Irish chicken is the Irish retail market, where there is strong demand for fresh raw Irish product although, the vast majority of poultry meat sold in the food service sector is imported.

The poultry sector has faced considerable challenges in recent years from rising feed and energy costs combined with significant pressure from unlabelled cheaper imports. The sector is small scale and highly vertically integrated from breeding stock to final processing. However, it competes with international enterprises which are larger in scale and avail of economies of scale by producing large volumes of product at lower marginal cost. There are opportunities in the sector to reduce costs and increase efficiency through increased scale and modern housing facilities as well as improved food conversion rates.  On a broader scale, for Ireland to develop a more competitive chicken industry, the poultry industry may consider operating at ‘complex’ scale i.e. breeding farms, hatcheries, growing farms, feed mills and slaughter plants operating at scale (1.3m to 1.5m birds per week) which would allow for a more cost effective operation at each stage of this integrated chain. With the introduction of country of origin labelling in 2015, Irish processors may grow their share of the domestic market and increase exports of fresh chicken to the UK.

Approximately 60% of the Irish poultry market in value terms consists of chicken fillets. Therefore Asian meat demand and prospective market access to China pose huge growth potential for Irish poultry meat exporters due to demand of fifty quarter products, legs and wings.  

Eggs sector

The egg sector accounts for about €49m of agricultural output. There are about 250 egg producers and about 800 people employed in the sector including packing and ancillary activities.  About 85% of eggs consumed are home produced. Egg producers have shown themselves to be efficient and progressive. Irish eggs enjoy an excellent salmonella status and most producers are participants in the Bord Bia Egg Quality Assurance Scheme which requires meeting strenuous standards on quality and traceability.

Actions:

Improved animal health, welfare and bio-security awareness and implementation through on-farm investment and training

Investment in poultry  production facilities particularly energy efficiency to reduce input costs

Exploit the opportunities afforded by country of origin labelling

Consideration of an ‘industry insurance fund’ to assist producers and processors in the event of disease outbreak

Consideration of development of ‘chicken complexes’ to allow the industry to operate on a more economic and efficient scale with greater integration and collaboration

Explore opportunities for the increased use of quality assured produce in food service

Collaboration with processors to build on commercial opportunities and drive returns from fifth quarter

To implement the recommendations arising from whole of the supply chain consultation process to address the issue of Campylobacter at farm, processing and distribution levels
Provide funding under the Rural Development Programme to up-grade existing buildings and funding to support the construction of new housing and ensure animal welfare and safety

Examine the extension of country of origin labelling to loose products

Invest and strengthen the position of the Quality Mark on the domestic market

Incorporate sustainability criteria under the Origin Green programme into the Poultry Products Quality Assurance Scheme (PPQAS)

Roll out a carbon footprinting assessment and improvement programme for poultry

Prepared Consumer Foods (PCF) and Alcoholic Beverages Sector

Strengths

  • Origin Green
  • High regulatory and food traceability standards
  • Iconic drinks brands
  • Blue chip customer base
  • Processing capability and reasonable scaling potential

Weaknesses

  • Over-reliance on UK and EU markets
  • Low profitability and relatively high cost base
  • Cost of route to market
  • Funding and access to/cost of credit
  • Low level of innovation investment and  product development

Opportunities

  • Large EU and wider EMEA market and related scaling opportunities
  • Develop a centre of excellence in Prepared Consumer Foods/Horticulture/beverage innovation
  • Growth potential of whiskey and craft beers
  • Agri-food tourism
  • Consumer and market focussed insights to develop brands and products

Threats

  • Competitiveness
  • Regulatory and fiscal policies out of line with competitors
  • Small scale relative to buyers and increasing retail concentration
  • Rise of private label
  • Increased imports
  • Food safety incident
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

The PCF sector1 is any company producing value-added food and beverages selling domestically or internationally and includes prepared consumer foods, ingredients, value-added seafood, value-added horticulture and non-alcoholic beverages. 

The PCF sector employs around 20,600 people and the latest figures shows that it has a gross output of €4 billion. There are approximately 500 manufacturing units in Ireland. 76% of these are small companies, employing 4,950 while 19% are medium sized and 5% are large companies employing 8,850 and 6,800 respectively.

This sector is emerging from a difficult period due to reduced consumer demand during the downturn.  Domestic and international recovery is beginning to create opportunities for growth.  Exports estimated at over €2.1 billion2 have grown by 18% since 2009; however these are still below peak   2006 levels.  There are huge opportunities for this sector to expand its customer base through new markets and continued product development.  Domestic sales are valued at €1.9bn and command a 40% share of the domestic PCF market.  However, imports are growing strongly, at around 46% in the past decade; the current trade deficit is of the order of €700 million.  This strategy must capitalise on the existing opportunities for import substitution and significantly increase the sector’s 40% share of the domestic market.

Barriers to PCF Growth
PCF companies operate in a harsh environment due to its limited home market and high cost basis.  Despite the challenges, the sector has proven remarkably resilient in the face of significant sterling depreciation and a prolonged recession.  Over the longer-term, a number of factors will prevent the sector from achieving its potential.  These include:

To meet ambitious growth targets, the PCF sector requires significant investment in new technologies, plant infrastructure, capability, R & D and innovation programmes. However current funding options are limited and restrictive. Existing EU State Aid rules, unfavourable commercial lending terms and an absence of Venture Capital and private venture funding in the sector have made it difficult for PCF companies to make the necessary enhancements and act as a barrier to entry for new companies in the sector. The Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) has an important role to play in creating opportunities for the PCF sector to access suitable funding to support its strategic development.

Once innovative solutions are put in place to address the financial and retailer issues, the industry will be able to capitalise on its growth potential and increase exports and its share of the domestic market.

Actions:

All companies to sign up to Origin Green initiative

Increase industry expenditure on R&D and innovation by setting a target of a 10% increase in funding per annum

Government agencies in consultation with the industry to align the definition of PCF and co-ordinate their approach accordingly

Develop a sectoral strategy for food and drink SMEs, which sets out supports, targets and best practice for the entry, development and progression of these companies to 2025

Continue to work directly with indigenous companies to identify new export market opportunities and develop services and supports for companies to facilitate export growth

Implement the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill when enacted

Drive greater participation by the sector in the Innovation Voucher and Innovation Partnership Programmes

Continue and expand the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (Enterprise Ireland) and Seed Capital Scheme to encourage more investment in small PCF companies

Bord Bia to maximise the use of Origin Green and their Quality Assurance programmes to differentiate Irish produce

Continuation and possible expansion of the Foreign Earnings Deduction (F.E.D.)

Alcoholic Beverages Sector

The alcoholic beverage industry in Ireland is broken down into different sectors; spirits (which includes the European Geographical Indications Irish Whiskey, Irish Cream and Irish Poteen/Poitín), Beer and Cider manufacture. Beverages exports exceed imports and there is a high domestic content in alcohol exports.  Ireland’s alcohol export performance reflects the strong performance in recent years of Irish Whiskey. There is further potential to increase alcohol exports and to diversify markets.  

Actions:

Establish discussion groups for malting barley growers

All companies to sign up to Origin Green initiative

Increase industry expenditure on R&D and innovation by setting a target of a 10% increase in funding per annum

Industry to continue to highlight the value to the national economy of the drinks sector and work to reduce the fiscal and regulatory burden

Industry and state agencies to work collaboratively to develop an Irish Whiskey and food pairing trail as a major tourist attraction and to differentiate Irish food and drink produce

Develop fiscal and other revenue generating initiatives which will enable the Irish Whiskey industry to fund the minimum three year maturation process

Industry to work with D/ECLG and EPA to improve waste recycling levels, facilities, implementation and to measure change on an ongoing basis

Assist development of new industry entrants by structured knowledge transfer systems including mentoring, training and skills transfer

Continue to support, protect and promote Ireland’s spirit GIs (Geographical Indications)

Develop a sectoral strategy for food and drink SMEs, which sets out supports, targets and best practice for the entry, development and progression of these companies to 2025

Continue to work directly with indigenous companies to identify new export market opportunities and develop services and supports for companies to facilitate export growth

Facilitate the growth of the premium drinks categories by providing market knowledge for the US market

Continuation and possible expansion of the Foreign Earnings Deduction (F.E.D.)

The  CSO/DJEI survey to track the Business Expenditure on R&D (BERD) performance  of the PCF sector

Artisan/Small Food Business

The Artisan/Small Food Business sector is highly fragmented and encompasses a diverse range of foods.  ‘Artisan’ businesses are micro-enterprises with a turnover up to €2m, employing fewer than 10 people and producing food in limited quantities (weekly av. under 1,000 kg or litres) using skilled craftspeople, a traditional method, and characteristic ingredient(s) produced within 100km. (FSAI Guidance Note 293) Small Food Businesses have a turnover not exceeding €3.5m.

Evidence suggests that the sector can have a significant impact on local economies as businesses are typically owner managed and closely linked to local farms. The emergence of Ireland’s Artisan/Small  Food Business sector, supported by growing consumer demand for niche food and drink products and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, has featured an increase in the number of food companies. This resurgent interest in, and receptiveness to locally sourced foods, local food networks and short supply chains has also led to an evolution of food markets and festivals now taking place in Ireland. These markets often act as incubation units for start-up food and drink businesses and dynamic artisan producers who begin trading at their local market.

Actions:

Creation of civic and festival markets similar to the English Market in Cork and Harvest Festival in Waterford in our major cities and towns.

Expansion of Dublin Food Chain initiative to other cities.

Create a pipeline of companies growing beyond Artisan/Small Food Business definition via the introduction of both bespoke 1:1 and group multi-level supports across strategic planning, marketing and marketing finance (for example Ascent, Superbrands and Step Change Fund).

Introduce a new support programme for Direct to Consumer producers aimed at enabling producers to extend their local and regional business reach and resulting in a pipeline for new entrants to the Artisan Food Market at Bloom.

Increase the opportunity for successful meet the buyer occasions through market focused relationship development with distributors, specialist retailers, and other retail and foodservice buyers on the domestic and international markets.

Annual investment in and delivery of small business specific consumer and market insights.

Formal opportunities to transfer learnings from craft food and drink production to new sector entrants via food apprenticeships and placements             

Cereals/Tillage

Strengths

  • Local demand for high energy and high protein feeds to supplement grass based diets in growing dairy feed market
  • High yield potential
  • Small scale of Irish sector means it can target high value export markets
  • Premium market for malting barley
  • Developing market for wheat and barley to supply the distilling industry.
  • Nutritional and health benefits

Weaknesses

  • High disease pressure, small and fragmented holdings resulting in high production costs.
  • Limited tillage research capacity
  • Technology deficit for some crops
  • Lack of trading standards for inter farm trading of crops
  • Limited land availability with a high proportion of production on leased or rented land

Opportunities

  • Expansion in feed demand post milk quota using home produced feed sources
  • Increased demand for malting barley and wheat by drinks industry
  • Greening under CAP will promote more crop rotation
  • Development of lifestyle enhancing niche products
  • Expansion in production of native protein feedstuffs

Threats

  • Vulnerable to increasing input costs
  • Lack of efficiency on farms
  • Cheap imports of GM crops
  • Land availability
  • Disease
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

 

Horticulture

Strengths

  • Expert grower base to produce a wide range of horticultural products for both food and non-food amenity use
  • Quality and presentation of Irish horticultural produce
  • Proximity to large UK market and the export positioning of Irish mushroom sector
  • Bord Bia Quality assurance schemes and Bloom established as major promotional channels
  • Growing consumer awareness of environmental issues

Weaknesses

  • Small domestic market and lack of scale versus international competitors
  • High cost base and labour intensive industry
  • Limited co-operation in a number of industry sub-sectors and prevalence of short term supply contracts
  • Lack of product branding
  • Limited Plant Protection Product range versus international competition

Opportunities

  • Health benefits / lifestyle trends
  • Import substitution of key lines and new export market opportunities
  • Adding value through innovation and new product development
  • Expanding of branding to better identify Irish produced horticultural products
  • Capitalise on retailer and EU  promotion of horticultural produce

Threats

  • Retailer power and consolidation of buying power and international import competition
  • Lack of investment
  • Reduced consumer demand for traditional vegetable products and potatoes
  • Industry capacity to align production planning with changing consumer demands and the vagaries of climate
  • Loss of critical expertise from industry grower base in line with industry consolidation and lack of new entrants and inadequate training
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

The domestic retail and food service markets are the most important markets for Irish fresh horticulture produce. However, mushrooms destined for the UK market represent a major export with a value in excess of €115 million. Amenity products are focused to a large extent on the domestic market. The main exports are Christmas trees, nursery stock and cut foliage. 

There is a very open market for horticultural products and the Irish industry has to compete with others who in some cases have a significant competitive advantage both in terms of scale and a lower cost base. The competitive pressures faced by the horticultural sector in particular are high input costs, notably energy and labour, competitively priced imports, lack of scale and limited development in innovation. The proposed Competition and Consumer Protection Bill and the associated legislation should improve fairness for individual growers and packers preparing produce under contract for the market.

The priority actions for the horticulture sector are:

  1. Output value to grow further to over €500m and deliver 1,000 FTE jobs
  2. Maintain and where possible increase value per unit sold
  3. Maintain and increase production area and diversify production in response to market
  4. To promote increased consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables to the recommended target of five or more a day
  5. To promote the sustainability credentials of the horticultural industry 

Climate change will likely affect the Irish horticultural industry in a number of different ways. There is a need to increase research in this area to allow the industry prepare for these changes. There is a need for training for the use of meteorological data recorded in the UK. Ireland can currently access the data but does not have the expertise to analyse and interpret it. To address the challenges associated with this, it is necessary to develop the necessary skills set which are not currently available.

Actions:

Producers to support and fund the Horticulture Industry Forum actions

Industry and Bord Bia to provide matching funding to support EU funded promotional campaigns 

Teagasc and growers to explore the use of precision technologies to accurately map crop input requirements

Potential for production of Irish potato chips and a variety of vegetable based crisps and snacks

All horticultural processors and packers to sign up to Origin Green

Increase supply chain inspections of country of origin labelling for fresh fruit and vegetables

Simplification of the mutual recognition process of plant protection products within the EU

Implement joint industry and EU funded promotional campaigns in the mushroom and potato sectors where the target audience is the younger demographic and key messages will include health and convenience    

Industry and Bord Bia to discuss and progress with the amenity sector (including the retail outlets) seeking joint industry and EU funds for promotional campaign(s) around gardening

Implementation of the Food Dudes Programme and developing the delivery model to make it available to all national schools who wish to participate in it on an ongoing basis

To examine opportunities for collaboration with other Departments and state agencies in the promotion of fresh produce and its role in a healthy, balanced diet  

To develop Bloom further as the major showcase of Irish Horticultural production, landscape design and construction

To roll out the Origin Green programme to horticulture producers with business and environmental measures that will underpin the sustainability credentials of the industry

Develop a strategy to maximise opportunities in relation to supplier relations, import substitution and below cost selling in the retail horticultural market

Establish an industry funding mechanism (levy) to promote horticultural products

Review the Terms and Conditions of those employed in the horticultural sector

Explore the potential for expanding evidence informed ‘food in schools’ programmes

Cereals/Tillage

The cropped area in Ireland extends to 368,000 ha or 8% of the area farmed. Cereals account for the main acreage under tillage at around 300,000 ha.  The national tillage sector is compact, comprising approximately 11,000 growers, of whom 4,000 have tillage as the primary farm enterprise. It is estimated that a further 15,000 people are employed in the crop based food processing sector.  Annual combinable crop output amounts to between 2.0 and 2.5 million tonnes accounting for approximately 1% of EU production. Irish cereal yields are among the highest in the world and, despite reaching a plateau in recent years, have the potential to increase by up to 1% per annum.

Tillage crop production in Ireland has traditionally been based on the provision of feedstuffs to the livestock sector and feedstock to industries such as malting, milling, sugar, breakfast cereal, distilling and food. 

75% of the national cereals harvest is used to produce animal feedstuffs with the remainder of the harvest going to feeding on-farm, production of seed, export, or use in the food and industrial sector. The farm sector has also developed cheaper processing options for direct on-farm use of cereals, such as crimping and wholecrop, and the production of feed crops like triticale, forage maize, fodder beet and kale for livestock feed.

Over 50% of tillage production in Ireland is carried out on leased or rented land and this is one of the most significant features of the sector, with implications for expansion, profitability and capacity to compete with other farming enterprises.

Actions:

Improve sustainability and reduce the costs of crop production through the improvement of soil management techniques including: appropriate cultivation selection, weed control and maximising the value of organic manures

Increase the proportion of cropped area under malting barley and wheat to meet the demand from distillers, maltsters and brewers, including craft breweries seeking to source a native malt supply

Increase output of  wheat and feed barley to support increased demand from the livestock sector and increase production of forage maize to meet anticipated demand for forage and nutrient requirements from the dairy sector

Increase production of protein crops annually to provide source of native traceable protein for feedstuffs

Increase the use of rotations and break crop production in response to meeting CAP greening requirements and to developing domestic and export markets (oats, oilseed and pulses)

Form partnerships with intensive livestock producers to avail of organic manures to reduce fertilizer costs, improve biological activity and improve soil fertility

Continue to examine whether the likely development of the sugar and ethanol markets would justify farmer and industry investment in  the redevelopment of a sugar beet industry in Ireland

Develop processing facilities for the production of high value products for the export market such as; oats for the ‘health and wellness – human nutrition’ category and cold–pressed oilseed rape for the human nutrition market

Increase inclusion rate for native malting barley in craft beer production through sourcing of suitable malts and malting barley varieties

Increase the use of Irish grown potatoes for specialist use  such as processing and salad markets

Expand crop variety evaluation programmes to identify high yield varieties of malting barley, wheat, oats and protein crops to support farmer and industry actions

Promote the use of superior crop varieties through the seed certification system. This will ensure that seeds of the highest quality are available to growers

Roll out Origin Green programme to tillage producers to underpin the sustainability credentials of the industry

Identify break crop opportunities and ensure their development by putting in place a cohesive development plan for growers, industry research and technology transfer and policy makers

Establish a new industry grouping to ensure achievement of targets for protein crops, break crops  and oilseed rape

Examine the feasibility of expanding the seed potato production sector to take advantage of national high-health status and increase exports of seed Develop marker- and genomics-assisted breeding to aid the development of crops better suited to Irish tillage systems

Seafood

Strengths

  • Proximity to key fishing grounds
  • Strong marine science capability
  • Good market diversification supported by  involvement in Origin Green 
  • Clean, green image of Atlantic waters

Weaknesses

  • Small scale, fragmented industry with  lack of large processing facilities
  • Lack of continuous raw material supply
  • Over-emphasis on commodity product 
  • Poor industry competitiveness and leadership

Opportunities

  • Increasing global demand with supply deficit
  • Attract increased landings into Ireland
  • Upscale and diversify production
  • Stock recovery through CFP programmes

Threats

  • Stock depletion in wild fisheries
  • Slowness/uncertainty of aquaculture licence determination
  • Seafood safety issues and farmed fish diseases
  • Failure to scale, diversify, innovate and invest
  • Failure to protect and measure the impact on the natural environment

The seafood sector, whose sales are currently valued at €850 million and represents around 5% of total food and beverage exports, has huge potential for expansion.  Its growth opportunities revolve around:

The industry’s ability to capitalise on its advantages is constrained by a number of factors.  The critical factors are the scale, fragmentation, leadership and management skill deficits within the processing sector, supply constraints, the emphasis on commodity rather than value-added product and capacity limits in respect of aquaculture production.

These long standing and well recognised challenges have inhibited the growth and profitability of the sector for some time.   A strategic change of direction is required to convert these opportunities into growth and the focus of this report is to set out clear tangible actions which will deliver this growth potential. These actions are focused around three key themes.

In addition to food production, there is a growing opportunity for Ireland to achieve a strategic advantage in the marine biotechnology field.  Our strengths in this area lie in our extensive and high quality marine resources, a recognised capacity in marine biological sciences R & D and strong technological capabilities in the food, pharmaceutical, medical devices and nutraceutical spheres. The importance and market potential of this emerging area has been recognised by the EU and domestically under the National Research Prioritisation Exercise and the integrated marine plan “Harnessing our Ocean Wealth”.

A blueprint for the development of the sector is provided by Ireland’s €241m Seafood Development Programme 2014-2020 which the European Commission is expected to adopt later in 2015.  Significant measures are proposed under that programme for the development of the fisheries, aquaculture and processing sector. Equally important is the robust framework in the Common Fisheries Policy to deliver fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield levels by 2020 at the latest, the eco-system based approach to fisheries management and the regulatory commitment to achieve good environmental status by 2020.

While the majority of these key actions will be fully aligned with this Seafood Development Programme, there is a strong view that a range of additional actions and investments are needed to allow the sector reach its full potential by 2025.  In particular, substantial further private investment, circa €300 million, over and above the Seafood Development Programme fund will be required to achieve the necessary scaling in the processing sector. Further public investment will also be required in additional infrastructure in Fisheries Harbour Centres to facilitate increased landings. 

Finally the major sectoral change will not happen unless there are structural changes in BIM and appropriate resources made available for implementation. Most importantly, BIM should, in the absence of risk capital, have the ability to make strategic investment, to prime the sector, when required.

The seafood sector has three priorities:

  • Expand the raw material base

  • Enhance the industry’s structure and skills

  • Optimise product added value, export markets and environmental sustainability

 

Actions:

Commission an independent review of the existing aquaculture licensing system involving  all key stakeholders,  to identify the current shortcomings and bottlenecks (legislative, resource and logistical), to report by early 2016 and implement necessary changes to the aquaculture licensing system as a matter of priority

Develop a strategy to expand shellfish and aquaculture production taking account of the carrying capacity of bays

Develop and initiate practical and  competitive measures to attract additional landings into Irish ports and continue to invest significantly in necessary infrastructure at the Fishery Harbour Centres  

Develop a strategy with practical and implementable actions to deliver scale in the key seafood sectors, including food ingredients

Develop a strategic plan with practical and implementable actions to significantly increase the quantity of seafood added value across all main species groups. This strategy should complement the strategic plan to deliver scale in the key seafood sectors, including food ingredients and should, at a minimum reduce the level of produce sold in commodity form from 70% to below 50%

Progress participation and engagement of Origin Green with seafood companies with the aim of bringing all seafood companies under the programme by 2016

Improve the environmental sustainability of the sector including fishermen gear sensitivity and replenishment of depleted inshore stocks

Give renewed priority to R & D into seafood based new product development, food ingredients and functional foods. This research should also include both harvested wild and farmed seaweeds and their by-products.

Forestry

Strengths

  • Competitive, export oriented sawmilling and wood  products sector
  • Young, highly productive forest estate
  • Comparative advantage in growing trees 
  • Strong technical competence
  • Highly mechanised contractor resource

Weaknesses

  • Low level of forest cover and disperse nature of forest estate and associated harvesting and transport costs 
  • Areas of low productivity forest
  • Decline in rate of afforestation
  • Private forests sector slow to embrace forest certification
  • The state is the dominant supplier of logs and the dominant user of small roundwood

Opportunities

  • Innovation and research deployment along the forest chain
  • Employment growth
  • Increased contribution of forest-based biomass, carbon sequestration and wood products use to reduce climate change mitigation
  • Expansion of the forest estate to sustain wood production and environmental benefits

Threats

  • Fall off in wood harvest
  •  Impact of catastrophic storms/weather events
  • Diseases /pests on forestry plants
  • Lack of continuity in funding to support the expansion of the forest estate
  • Lack of  investment in innovation and research
  • Potential impact of climate change on a mainly exotic species based forestry resource

Forests account for almost 11% of the land area of the country and support a vibrant, export-oriented forest products sector with over 75% of the output of Ireland’s timber processing sector, and 80% of wood based panels being exported. Forestry plays an increasingly important role in rural development not only through the diversification of farm income but also through the provision of rurally based employment both of which contribute to rural stabilisation and viability.

We now have an internationally competitive sawmilling and board manufacturing sector. In response to a collapse in domestic demand for materials arising from the economic difficulties which we are now emerging from, the sector developed major export markets, including Britain and France but also much further afield.

After wind energy, wood fuels are the largest contributor to renewable energy generation in Ireland, while forests’ contribution to climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration and the use of wood products form an important element of the national climate change strategy. Latest estimates show that, after taking harvest and wood use into account, forests established since 1990 will remove from the atmosphere a net 3.4 million tonnes in 2015; by 2025 the rate of removal is projected to be in the region of 4.7 million tonnes. Afforestation not only supports Ireland’s approach to land-based climate change mitigation but also helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and supports the transition to a low carbon economy. It is estimated that over a million cubic metres, one third of the annual harvest, is used for energy purposes in one way or another. As outlined in Forests, products and people, published by the Department in 2014, forests also provide a range of public goods ranging from biodiversity to forest-based recreation – it is estimated that there are 18 million visits to Irish forests per annum.

The industry must continually strive to increase its competitiveness in what is a global market for wood and wood products. Efficiencies along the supply chain must continue to be examined and cost saving/control measures introduced. The combination of innovation and value added, coupled with an accurate forecast and flexible supply chain, maximising the most valuable products, and the removal of barriers to wood mobilisation will, as outlined in the COFORD Wood Mobilisation Report, enhance the industry’s wood paying capability, thereby leveraging increased roundwood production.

Actions:

Increase the forest area in accordance with sustainable forest management principles, to support long term sustainable roundwood supply through an increase in the annual afforestation level  to 15,000 ha from 2021, subject to demand and the availability of funding

Sustainably manage the forest resource, including genetic resources through the introduction of a national forest management planning system and state support for seed stand management and the establishment of seed orchards thereby ensuring the provision of a full range of timber and other benefits

Ensure that afforestation, management of existing forests and the development of the forest sector are undertaken in a manner that enhances their contribution to the environment, takes account of the Environmental Report of the Forestry Programme 2014-2020,  and fulfils their capacity to provide public goods and services

Increase the roundwood harvest to 4.6 m cubic metres by 2025. Produce a new all Ireland roundwood production forecast. Develop a flexible and environmentally responsible roundwood supply chain to enhance the competitiveness of the processing sector and the production of high value products

Support the development of a competitive, innovative, value-added and market focused sector

DAFM should explore innovative financial and funding mechanisms to encourage greater level of institutional investment in afforestation and in mobilising wood supply from the existing private forest estate

Ensure that the tax treatment of forestry does not act as a disincentive for the achievement of national policy goals in particular forest cover, roundwood supply to industry and climate change mitigation

Maintain a healthy forest environment through sustainable forest management and through early detection and control measures for pests and diseases

Ensure the availability of suitable programmes of education and training across the sector and research programmes targeted at identified needs. The importance of investment in training, research and development is recognised and the strategic actions focus on a more co-ordinated overall approach in these important areas

Forest products, forest services and the management of the forest resource must have a strong, market-led, quality focus

1 PCF companies fall under a number of NACE and CN code headings. However, some of these NACE codes include products from the wider prepared foods sector.  Accordingly, infant nutrition products, fat-filled milk powder, other dairy produce used as a manufacturing ingredient and concentrates have been removed in order to correctly describe the scope and size of the PCF sector. (This covers part of NACE codes 1051, 1086, 1089 and certain CN codes from the 0403 and 1901 categories)

2 Figures from A 10-year Vision for Prepared Consumer Foods (PCF) 2014

3 https://www.fsai.ie/publications_food_marketing_terms/