Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has launched ‘Milestones for Success 2013’, his report on the outcomes which have been achieved in the three years since Food Harvest 2020 was published.
In his view ‘this report showcases case studies which exemplify a confident and ambitious sector and one which is dynamic, outward looking and has achieved real growth.’
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 €9 billion for the first time which means that over the last three years these exports have risen by 28%, or €2bn, in total. This trend is continuing; the latest CSO figures for food & beverage exports show a 7% 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. “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”.
“The agri-food and fishing industry, as global players, have actively embraced the FH2020 message that competitiveness and sustainability practices can complement each other. They have been to the forefront in using programmes such as LEAN manufacturing, Green Business and BETTER farms. Milestones 2013 use 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 FH2020 which also provide good launch pad for Origin Green.”