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Meeting of 2015 Agri-vision Food Industry Committee

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., and Mr Brendan Smith T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Food today met companies covering a broad spectrum of the food industry for a meeting of the Food Industry Committee established under the Agri-Vision 2015 Action Plan.

By way of introduction Minister Coughlan said that "the food industry is in many respects uniquely important to Ireland, not just from an economic and social viewpoint but because of its scope and significance for regional development".

The sector is at a critical juncture arising from changes in EU and international trade policy combined with an increasingly competitive and globalised marketplace. In this context the Government recognises the need for engagement with industry at all levels to consider the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

Minister Smith said that the Food Industry Committee will identify and consider appropriate strategies to drive a more competitive, innovative and consumer focused agri-food industry. A Food Agency Group, comprising senior representatives of all state agencies involved in supporting the food industry, had already been established to work in tandem with the industry committee.

"We are committed to the continued development of a multifaceted and sophisticated food industry in this country based on sustainable production of high value quality products capable of competing on markets world-wide". A number of major initiatives have been launched in recent months to address capacity issues in some key food industry sectors and Minister Smith expressed confidence that the high level groups will lead to a sustained developmental focus in the critical years ahead.

14 November, 2006

Date Released: 14 November 2006