Ireland’s agri-food sector aims to create 23,000 more jobs over the next ten years.
Living on a mild, fairly damp island with lots of grass may have its drawbacks but it also has enormous advantages, especially when it comes to the agri-food industry.
Food Wise 2025, a strategic plan to connect more local Irish agri-food communities with global markets over the next ten years, has very big ambitions for Ireland’s food & drink industries.
Let’s put some numbers on Food Wise’s ambitions
On the basis of available data, the [Food Wise 2025] committee believes that the following growth projections are achievable by 2025:
■ Increasing the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion
■ Increasing the value added in the agri-food, fisheries and wood products sector by 70% to in excess of €13 billion
■ Increasing the value of Primary Production by 65% to almost €10 billion.
■ The creation of an additional 23,000 direct jobs in the agri-food sector all along the supply chain from primary production to high value-added product development.
Very impressive. If all of this is achieved, the next ten years will see an enormous upsurge in agri-food SME activity.
At its core, Food Wise 2025 is about increasing the number of Irish SMEs working in the agri-food sector. It’s also about accessing global markets, particularly the growing middle-class markets of Asia and Africa.
More than a question of money
Internationally, Ireland has one of the best reputations when it comes to food and drink production. Back home, the agri-food industry offers a host of high-level career opportunities but needs to do a better job in communicating its appeal. As the Food Wise 2025 vision document puts it: “Agri-food is the main economic driver in many rural areas. Its impact across the country is unparalleled.”
However, Ireland’s largest indigenous industry is more than a question of money.
“As farmers, fishermen, forest owners and food businesses supply their goods and services, their actions add to the common good in often underappreciated ways. They are custodians of Ireland’s natural landscapes and its environmental riches, while their support for local community activities underwrite Ireland’s social and cultural well-being in countless ways.”
Read the story of Glenilen Farm, a food firm that started on a kitchen table and now employs 32 people with a turnover of over €4 million.
Also, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland has guides for starting a food business, including a home business guide.
Image courtesy of Bord Bia.