Ireland’s milestones in agricultural success launched
Milestones for Success 2013, a report on the outcomes that have been achieved in the three years since Food Harvest 2020 was published, was launched this morning by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD.
In his view “this report showcases case studies that exemplify a confident and ambitious sector and one which is dynamic, outward looking and has achieved real growth”.
In presenting Milestones for Success 2013, Minister Coveney pointed out that the agri-food and fishing industry is enjoying a period of strong success and all signs point to continuous growth for the sector.
In 2012, food and drink exports exceeded €9bn for the first time which means that over the past three years these exports have risen by 28 per cent, or €2bn, in total.
This trend is continuing; the latest Central Statistics Office figures for food and beverage exports show a 7 per cent rise in the first half of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012.
Minister Coveney highlighted the parallel upturn in employment figures in the food and drink sector over the past. “Forfas estimates that job numbers have grown by over 1,300 in 2012 and I believe that some element of this trend can be attributed to the work being done by the Government and the Food Harvest Implementation Committee to grow this, our most important indigenous sector,” he said.
Minister Coveney commented: “This year, I decided to showcase some of the many successful initiatives taken by my Department, state bodies, industry, farmers and entrepreneurs to advance Food Harvest 2020, and so, Milestones 2013 contains case studies on investment, competitiveness, sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship.
The major investments made by key industry players, provide concrete evidence of industry buy-in to the vision and targets of Food Harvest 2020.
These are “certainly testimony to the dynamism and renewed confidence of the dairy sector and also demonstrate Ireland’s capacity to deliver innovative and enterprise solutions for global businesses”.
The agri-food and fishing industry, as global players, have actively embraced the Food Harvest 2020 message that competitiveness and sustainability practices can complement each other, he said.
They have been to the forefront in using programmes such as Lean manufacturing, Green Business and Better farms. Milestones 2013 uses a number of case studies to illustrate how effectively these programmes have reduced waste, improved resource efficiency while delivering increased profits and performance at processing and farm level.
Minister Coveney said that these are “practical examples of the “smart, green” themes in Food Harvest 2020 that also provide good launch pad for Origin Green”.
Ireland has set its sights on becoming a world leader in the delivery of sustainable food and drinks, using the Bord Bia developed Origin Green programme as its primary verifiable platform.
One year on, it has achieved significant progress and more than 265 companies have registered with the programme that involves setting specific sustainability targets tailored to company needs.
Minister Coveney said: “I am delighted with the success of Origin Green. I am a firm believer in the capability of this independently verified programme to underpin Ireland’s sustainability claims and am more than happy to showcase its endeavours in Milestones 2013.”
Milestones 2013 also has examples to demonstrate the benefits of various forms of collaboration, such as successful examples of partnership formation at farm level and joint ventures at industry level. It also highlights examples of innovation, new product development and entrepreneurship that will encourage and inspire others.
Minister Coveney’s overall summation was that “there is great confidence and excitement in the industry at present and I am very aware of the tremendous work being done sector-wide, by farmers, producers, processors and entrepreneurs to implement progressive plans and programmes to achieve Food Harvest 2020 aspirations”.
Pictured: The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today launched ‘Milestones for Success 2013’, his report on the outcomes that have been achieved in the three years since Food Harvest 2020 was published. With Minister Coveney are Aidan Cotter, An Bord Bia and Michael Cantwell, Enterprise Ireland
A snapshot of the report is to follow