Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020), the committee launched in 2010 to improve agri-food exports from €8 billion to €12 billion by 2020, may surpass its original goals.
While the export figures are currently on target, its possible that they will go much further, as they already reached close to €10 billion last year. Considering the success of the Asian trade mission, which saw Japan lift its ban on Irish beef exports, coupled with the US doing the same, the possibilities for export increases are huge.
FH2020 said that the processed goods sector will offer the greatest impact for new jobs and add value to the domestic economy. Colin Gordon, chairman of Ibec’s Food & Drinks Industry Ireland said that the Prepared Consumer Foods Activation Group is working on the numbers to see just how much consumer food exports can deliver in the next few years, and results are expected by the summer. Gordon said, “At the minister’s (Simon Coveney TD) request, we will try to quantify FH2020’s economic impacts. Dairy and beef exports are very important, but the greatest benefits in economic terms will come from prepared consumer foods.”
Gordon explained that while there are initial estimates, the numbers are still being validated. However he did say that the export boost will be significant and the numbers of jobs will be in the thousands. FH2020 has targeted a 40% export increase in prepared consumer food exports, compared against a 2008 output baseline. It also projected a 40% 10-year target for overall food and beverage exports. While milk output is predicted to grow by 50%, beef may exceed output of 20%.
Minister Coveney said, “Food Harvest sets an ambitious target of €3 billion in additional output in the value-added sector. This level of ambition is fully justified because the sector is a significant growth area. Prepared consumer foods are a real driver of that dynamic, both in volume and value terms, with significant potential for employment creation and growth in the domestic economy and in exports.”
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson