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Coveney - Ireland to become world leader in promoting a sustainable food chain supply

Delivering the opening address today at the Grant Thornton Conference Food 4.0: The Dynamics of Supply and Demand Simon Coveney T.D. , Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said that  "the challenges of the last few years have seen Irish food companies bring new approaches to understanding their strengths, identifying new business opportunities and managing costs.  This is particularly difficult when world prices are volatile putting pressure right along the food supply chain in many countries and markets."

The Minister stated that "This Conference is timely. There is an ever increasing recognition of the critical role of research and innovation, when inspired by insight into market and consumer needs, in meeting the big societal challenges of the 21st century. A growing world population, more people living in cities, pressures on natural resources as people seek a better standard of living and higher expectations present particular challenges in the area of food security".

"The supply chain can be complex.  Food companies and other stakeholders need to continually assess and review where they can position themselves most effectively and sustainably in relation to food demand and supply.  This can include new forms of partnership, "co-opetition potential" across and along the food supply chain, social and technological innovation. Sustainability may be the theme of this century. It is an area where the Irish food sector can demonstrate achievement and an ambition to achieve even more.  Already food and drink companies representing 50% of Irish food and drink exports have signed declarations of interest in the Bord Bia "Origin Green" initiative launched by An Taoiseach.  This builds on Ireland's strengths in extensive grass-based food production systems and its capacity to grow agriculture and food production sustainably as envisioned in Food Harvest 2020.

Concluding, the Minister commended Grant Thornton for organising the Conference and interesting research into the "dynamics of supply and demand" which have a whole economy impact extending well beyond the food sector itself.

Date Released: 25 October 2012