Sustainable investment key for agri-food industry, AFBP

Sustainable investment is key for the growth and development of the agri-food industry. This is according to Agri-Food Business Partners (AFBP), which is organising a key agri-business conference later this month.

The key industry speakers include: Tom Moran, secretary general at the Departmentt of Agriculture and Food; Aidan Cotter of Bord Bia; Kevin Lane of the Irish Dairy Board; John Horgan of Kepak; Jim Bergin of Glanbia Ingredients ; Dr Pat Dillon of Teagasc; Jim McCarthy of International Farming Investor among others.

The event’s organisers note agri-food, fisheries and forestry represent Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and have a key role to play in Ireland’s economic recovery. They also acknowledge the ambitious Government-backed growth targets for the sector.

It says the investment required to deliver this growth potential is substantial at every level of the value chain.

“Farm debt directly related to farming activities is currently estimated at €1.9bn, while total family farm debt is of the order of €4bn. This is against a background where financial markets, post the debt crisis, are less liquid and are much more risk adverse. There are examples in the agri-sector where the financial markets are dysfunctional.”

The organisers added: “There is a necessity to ensure that the mistakes made in the pre-crash Celtic tiger boom are not repeated in the agri-food sector as expansion gathers pace. Ireland must increasingly compete in the global marketplace where every facet of competitiveness from land cost to manufacturing and marketing efficiency are critical to sustainable investment and development.”

It is hoped the conference, which takes place in the Clyde Court, Dublin on 31 January, will address some of these issues. For more information and to book tickets visit www.agrifoodbusiness.com.

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