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Ireland's 12 Billion Euro Exports Vision

by 5m Editor
26 July 2010, at 10:23a.m.

IRELAND - The UK is the main destination for Irish food and drink exports - accounting for 43 per cent of the total.

With Irish-origin foods relatively prevalent in some key product categories, Irish agriculture is a major competitor for UK farmers. In short, its fortunes matter to farmers here, which made the publication of an ambitious ‘vision’ for the sector last week worth noting.

Entitled Harvest 2020, the Irish Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food report looks for smart, green growth, based around a significant increase in output. Leading that was a 42 per cent target to increase agri-food exports to €12 billion.

This ambitious strategy seeks to harness Ireland's image of 'green' pasture-based production, combined with investment in innovation, skills and competitiveness to increase market share on export markets. The report makes a number of recommendations which will now be put to an implementation committee to be chaired by DAFF. Those include:

  • Achieving greater competitiveness in manufacturing through more competition and collaboration. Developing farm management techniques, animal health and breeding.
  • Investing in skills and moving towards lifelong learning for the farm sector.
  • Securing Ireland's environmental credentials by bringing more scientific evidence to bolster claims about the environmental performance of Ireland's farming.
  • Seeking to reduce the carbon intensity of production (but not aggregate emissions) per unit of output through farm advice.
  • More effective R&D and more collaborative research partnerships.

Given the financial constraints placed on the Irish government (which have included cuts to public sector salaries), it is hard to see where the resources to back this ambition will come from immediately. However the rhetoric is clear; the Irish government wants the sector to expand in order to deliver increased economic growth to the Irish economy. The UK must be seen as one of the major target markets for expansion.

Further Reading

- You can view the executive summary by clicking here.