The value of food and drink exports could reach at least €15bn by 2025, according to the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Speaking today at the launch of plans for the Food Harvest 2025 strategy, he said he was hesitant to put a figure on the potential value for the sector’s exports, he said a conservative one was double what exports were when the initial Food Harvest 2020 strategy was launched in 2010, or €15bn.

Submissions are being accepted for the current strategy, until January 9, and the Minister said the strategy to take the Irish food and drink sector to 2025 should be published by July 2015.

Minister Coveney said that the agri-food sector has already demonstrated a capacity for growth and development, even in the most challenging times.

“It is clear to me that much more can be achieved if we focus our efforts on the extraordinary opportunities presented by growing global food demand. This will require us to be ambitious – indeed world leading – in innovation, sustainability, food safety, quality and competiveness across all our key product sectors, building on our already high reputation in these areas.”

Minister Coveney said significant progress has been made over the last four and half years, as the Food Harvest 2020 vision of ‘smart, green, growth’ has been made a reality through hard work at all stages of the food chain, from farm level to food companies, and from research and advisory services to enhanced branding and promotion in our expanding world markets.

The recently launched Milestones for Success 2014 showed in detail the real progress achieved since the Food Harvest 2020 strategy was launched in 2010. Minister Coveney said that it is now time to move on to a new 10-year planning horizon.

John Moloney said he was honoured to have been asked to lead the new committee and said the committee needs to take stock of what has been achieved and look at recalibration for the future.

“Our Committee has the task of setting out a clear agenda of what needs to be done to ensure the optimum outcome in terms of sustainable development and job creation, and this is a hugely important and engaging task.”