Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) has published its ‘Policy recommendations of the Food and Drink Sector 2014’, which emphasises the central role the industry can play in the economic life of the country in the coming years.
The focus for 2014, says the Ibec group that represents the food sector, should be on the effective implementation of agri-food policy across all of the Government to enable the industry achieve its full growth potential and continue to deliver a strong jobs dividend.
FDII Director Paul Kelly said, "As exports reach €10 billion, 2014 brings us to a critical juncture on the road to the Food Harvest 2020 target of €12 billion. The focus this year must be on effective implementation of agri-food policy across all of Government to enable the industry to achieve its full growth potential and continue to deliver a strong jobs dividend.”
Kelly said that the key to this is a manufacturing base that is cost competitive and efficient, which requires improved access to finance to support productivity improvements and capacity expansion, lower energy and waste charges as well as a continued focus on investing in innovation and skills development.
The policy recommendations include encouraging sustainable production expanding to increased volumes of high-quality sustainably produced raw material; competitive manufacturing with competitive costs and efficient manufacturing; efficient markets with competitive and fair marketplaces and health and nutrition with positive initiatives as opposed to taxation.
Kelly said, “Government policies must be aligned with industry needs. There must also be an acknowledgement of and support for the role that the food and drink industry can play in multi-stakeholder health and nutrition initiatives.”