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Minister Smith addresses 52nd International Congress of Meat Science and Technology

Mr Brendan Smith TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, today welcomed to Ireland delegates from 50 countries at the Opening Ceremony of the 52nd International Congress of Meat Science and Technology. This major scientific event is taking place over the next week at University College Dublin.

Minister Smith drew attention to the changes in the environment over the past decade in which the meat industry operates. He commented that "the individual characteristics of the marketplace have gone through significant change with the globalisation of markets, increased influence of the multiples, food safety, animal welfare and environmental concerns, changing lifestyles and an international spread of more complex, discerning and demanding customers".

The greater emphasis on the marketplace will attune producers and processors to the need for awareness and understanding of changing consumer preferences and requirements. This, together with a focus on efficient high quality production should enable all sections of the meat industry to work together in an optimum way and position themselves to best meet the demands of the marketplace and achieve returns from their investments.

Commenting on the theme of the Congress, 'Harnessing and Exploiting Global Opportunities', Minister Smith said it was very appropriate in the context of where the meat industry finds itself today and the challenges that face the industry. Developments in key science-based technologies and innovations are at the heart of how the industry will face these challenges and should underpin any strategy for real and sustained growth across the industry.

The Minister stressed the importance of close collaboration between all of these key players to build a truly dynamic and successful international meat industry. He said one of the essential ingredients is a deep commitment by industry to Research and Development, and a collaborative drive towards funding and facilitating Research and Development together with the State and research partners. He said that the Department of Agriculture and Food will provide significantly increased funding for Research and Development in the agri-food area in the coming years in the context of the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation 2006-2013 which was recently agreed by the Government.

Minister Smith paid tribute to the International Organising Body and to the Local Organising Committee for their considerable work in bringing the 52nd International Congress of Meat Science and Technology to Ireland. He wished all concerned a successful Congress and said that it provided a great opportunity for interaction between the research community and the industry to address specific topics of importance and to generate new and collaborative research ideas.

14 August, 2006

Date Released: 14 August 2006