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Minister Shane McEntee encourages the development of Quality Food and Drink Products linked to Geographical areas

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD, today officially opened the BMW (Borders, Midland and Western) Regional Food Event & Product Showcase. This event offers food and drink producers in the BMW region a unique opportunity to showcase their products to local retail and foodservice buyers. It was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone with no charge to companies to participate.

The event forms part of a series of regional events which commenced in 2011. The BMW event is once again a joint agency initiative led by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Bord Bia, involving Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland, LEADER Groups, and County and City Enterprise Boards. Their objective is to stimulate awareness and create demand for local food, thereby increasing the potential market size for local food producers and generating additional sales. Noting that the Bord Bia regional product showcase event was directly preceded by an information session on the EU PDO/PGI Geographical Indications Scheme, Minister McEntee stated "This is an important scheme for protecting quality food and drink products with a characteristic link to a particular geographical area. There is potential to expand this scheme in Ireland and I would like to see more producers coming together to examine the opportunities offered by this scheme".

Ireland currently has four products that benefit from this scheme (Clare Island Salmon, Imokilly Regato, Connemara Hill Lamb, Timoleague Brown Pudding) and a further application (Waterford Blaa) has recently been registered with the European Commission.  Among the recommendations of Food Harvest 2020 (our blueprint for 'smart, green growth' of the food industry) is that optimal use should be made of geographical indications and that further designations should be identified.

The Minister went on to say "The protected geographical indications quality schemes can create valuable market opportunities for producers of quality regional foods. Within Europe, these schemes offer potential to recognise artisan food that is linked to a geographical region. Agricultural products and foodstuffs can apply for recognition where a link exists between the characteristics of a product or foodstuff and the defined geographical area. My Department will be having further discussions with Bord Bia, BIM and industry to identify more products with potential to meet the specific criteria set down in the EU Regulations and to encourage applications from groups of producers. My Department welcomes new applications for quality products, and will work with producers to develop their applications and acquire registration".

Finally, the Minister applauded the work carried out by his Department and Bord Bia, and thanked the County Enterprise Boards, Enterprise Ireland, LEADER and Teagasc for participating in the Regional Food Showcase event.

Notes for the Editor

  • This is a Business to Business (B2B) solution – to stimulate awareness and generate demand for local food on the demand and supply side in the BMW regional area.
  • BMW (Border, Midland and Western) Region comprises the 13 counties of Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal, Roscommon, Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly and Laois.
  • Bord Bia have produced a Directory which provides details of the most significant food producers in the thirteen participating counties.

Date Released: 21 May 2012