By using this website, you consent to our use of cookies. For more information on cookies see our privacy policy page.

Text Size: a a
Home A-Z Index Subscribe/RSS Contact Us Twitter logo small white bird

Smith says Food and Drink Industry has "Key role to play in Ireland's Economic Recovery"

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today emphasised the "key role that the food and drink industry has to play in Ireland's economic recovery".  The Minister was speaking at Farmleigh House at a Bord Bia hosted 'Food & Drink Summit - Building Ireland's largest indigenous industry'.

Minister Smith described the overall importance and economic contribution of the food industry as "enormous, permeating as it does all aspects of Irish society - tourism, health and culture", and said the industry was "Irish through-and-through, with an extensive geographic spread and accounting for half of all purchased Irish goods and services by the manufacturing industry".

The Irish agri-food sector accounts for

  • 6.6 per cent of the economy's gross value added:
  • 10 per cent of total exports in 2008;
  • a turnover of some €24 billion; and
  • directly employs over 150,000, representing 7.5 per cent of the total workforce.

The Minister said that today's event would "feed into a comprehensive strategy and vision to take us to 2020 and will determine a large chunk of what happens in the agri-food sector in the first half of this decade and beyond". Paying tribute to the industry which, he said was characterised by "resilience, capability and adaptability", the Minister said that while "the industry has evolved admirably over the last two decades, development has been incremental rather than transformative.  There is a realisation now, more than ever, that a major transformation of our industry at all levels is required."

In conclusion, Minister Smith expressed his "enthusiasm about the prospect and potential provided by today's event."  He went on to say that "I believe that there is an appetite for real and meaningful change and I am confident that the output from Bord Bia's summit will give further momentum to this process."

Date Released: 06 May 2010