Irish food industry should target €883 million EU promotion fund – Gallagher

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP is urging Irish food, drink and seafood companies to fully participate in a new EU food promotion fund worth €883 million for the period 2014 to 2020.

The European Parliament will vote to approve the Herranz Garcia Report tomorrow on the promotion of agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries.

In advance of the vote, Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP is urging Irish producers to realise the full potential of this important promotion fund, which will serve to boost awareness of Irish food products in both European and Global markets.

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stressed that the significant increase in the budget allocation is a firm statement of intent from the European Parliament that the EU will support food producers in getting their high-quality products to new consumers and wider markets.

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP said today:

“The Irish food industry is the success story of the Irish economy in recent years, accounting for 11% of Ireland’s exports. In 2013, Irish agri food and drink exports increased by 9% with the UK accounting for 42% of all exports, 32% of exports went to continental Europe and the remaining 26% went to international markets.”

“I strongly believe that the adoption of this important initiative will enable Irish food, drink and seafood companies to further increase exports by successfully targeting new and emerging markets for their products.”

Under the fund food producers will be supported in meeting the challenges of targeting global markets with the highest growth potential and in increasing awareness of their products in the European market.

“The quality of Irish food, drink and seafood products is second to none. They are produced sustainably to the highest health, safety and welfare standards, with traceability and taste guaranteed. As such, Irish producers stand to gain tremendously from increased promotion within Europe and on third markets with their participation in these programmes. Increasing competitiveness and awareness will further drive growth in this sector, generating employment and securing sustainable enterprises in rural and coastal areas.”

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP who is a member of the Committee on Fisheries in the European Parliament was also instrumental in securing the inclusion of seafood products as eligible for promotion under the scheme by tabling a key amendment to the report.

“This will help boost Irish seafood exports, which are currently worth €375 million to the Irish economy. Under the compromise negotiated with the Council Presidency, seafood products will be eligible for promotion both on European and global markets when promoted in conjunction with another food product.”