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Minister Coveney Addresses Bord Bia Marketing Fellows at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

- Marketing Fellowship programme an outstanding success

- Agri-food one of the big good news stories for Ireland in next 4-5 years

Addressing Bord Bia Marketing Fellows yesterday at the UCD Michael Smurfit Business School, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that the Fellowship Programme had been an outstanding success and the work of the Fellows was greatly appreciated by the food industry.  At company level, graduates in the first Fellowship Programme had already generated almost €3m in actual sales.

"I believe we need to engender optimism and hope in young professional people.  In its third year, the Programme is growing from strength to strength, and has paved the way for the Alumni Programme, which aims to build careers and develop talent in the industry", said the Minister.

Minister Coveney expressed his particular appreciation of the contribution of Professor Mary Shelman of Harvard University, who facilitated a workshop with the Fellows. In the Pathways for Growth report Harvard University had concluded that 'we can certainly imagine that in 20 years time Ireland will be the most efficient, most highly innovative food and drink country in the world' and the recommendations made in Pathways were reflected in Food Harvest 2020.

Minister Coveney added "I strongly believe that the agri-food sector has a critical important role to play in leading Ireland’s economic recovery. Irish food companies have in the last two years operated in the most adverse of market conditions. Despite this, Irish food and drink exports are estimated to have grown by 11% in 2010 to nearly €8 billion, demonstrating the resilience of food companies and the sector's importance as our leading indigenous manufacturing industry and generator of net export earnings".

Commending Bord Bia for playing a key role in the strong performance by the agri-food sector in the last year, Minister Coveney concluded that "The level of advice and support Bord Bia provides to individual companies cannot be underestimated".

Note for Editors

Food Harvest 2020 sets out a vision and high level of ambition for the agri-food and fisheries sectors. It is a blue print for development agreed by all key agencies and players. By 2020, the key targets are to increase the value of value-added output by €3 billion and achieve an export target of €12 billion, which is 50% above the level in 2010. Food Harvest also foresees an expansion and strengthening of the Fellowship Programme. This will happen under the Fellowship 3 programme, which expands the Fellowship participation, strengthens the sales capability module of the programme and makes further enhancements of the course assignments. Food and drink accounted for two thirds of exports by indigenous Irish companies. Together, the agri-food and fisheries sectors are responsible for over 150,000 jobs in Ireland, and an annual output of around €24 billion. 

Photo PR 63/11 - 21.04.2011  

Bord Bia Fellowship to Boost Ireland's €8 billion Food Exports
Pictured left to right: Aidan Cotter, CEO, Bord Bia, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and Dean Tom Begley of the UCD Smurfit Business School, Fiona Fitzgerald, Bord Bia Fellow.

Date Released: 21 April 2011