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Beef 2020 Activation Group Announced

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mr Brendan Smith, today announced the establishment of an action focussed group to implement the recommendations of the Food Harvest 2020 Report in relation to beef. This report targets an increase of 20% in the value of beef output by 2020. The group will be chaired by Mr. Michael Dowling, former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and will involve processors farmers and Teagasc.

The members of the Group are as follows:

Niall  Browne, Dawn Meats Group
John Horgan, Kepak
Finbar McDonnell,  AIBP
Joe Brady, Beef Farmer, Co. Cavan
Paul Kehoe, Beef Farmer, Co. Wexford
Martin Lenehan, Beef Farmer, Co. Sligo
Teagasc and ICBF will also be represented on the Committee.

Beef production is the dominant industry on Irish farms, with more than 100,000 farm families involved in providing the raw material for a labour intensive industry that exports product valued at more than €1.5 billion per annum.

Commenting on the establishment of the Group, the Minister referred to the tremendous opportunities for the Irish beef sector arising from the global expansion in demand for food:

"The world's population is expected to exceed 7 billion for the first time in 2012, and by 2025 will exceed 8 billion. Expanding global demand for food represents a tremendous opportunity for the Irish agri food industry. Our beef sector can position itself to take advantage of this opportunity, but this will mean acting now to maximise the market advantage of the "Ireland" brand, to improve profitability and sustainability at farm level, and to ensure that the processing sector is configured to operate at optimal efficiency". :

The Minister said that he had asked the Beef 2020 Group to focus on implementing the recommendations of Food Harvest, to quickly identify the appropriate next steps and to engage with stakeholders to ensure that they play their part in implementing the recommendations. The Group will report on progress to the Food Harvest High Level Implementation Committee. Concluding, the Minister said:

"The beef industry is of major national importance, and I urge all of the stakeholders in the beef sector to engage with this process and play their part in fully developing the potential of their industry".

Date Released: 07 February 2011