Measures will sustain and increase employment in food enterprises and aquaculture. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD today welcomed the launch of the Jobs Strategy. “The 17 agri-food measures in the Strategy set out clear actions, steps to be taken and time-lines in each case.
They will support food and drink companies in sustaining jobs and expanding business in particular on the export front, in line with the Food Harvest 2020 vision of ‘Smart, Green Growth’. I am committed to the implementation of these measures and have already brought an Action Plan to the Food Harvest 2020 Committee. It is now an integral part of their planning. The general measures in the Jobs Strategy also include actions to improve access to credit across the micro sector, which had been a constraint on growth for small and micro companies”, said the Minister.
Minister Coveney also drew attention to the importance of production at farm level, saying “the steps taken in Budget 2012 to provide stock relief and encourage farm partnerships, to improve farm structures and scale, to facilitate more efficient operations and to bring more innovative and energetic young prospective farmers into farming are integral to our growth vision for the future of Irish agri-food”.
The Minister added “These ambitious measures will facilitate delivery of our Food Harvest 2020 expansion targets. Food Harvest provided an indication that it was possible to achieve a net 7,000 additional jobs, half of them in aquaculture and seafood, as exporting food companies were resilient and there were particular opportunities to expand aquaculture. Production of farmed seafood in Ireland has been hindered by lack of access to suitable large scale licensed areas and the aim now is to address this by creating new deep sea organic fish farming production areas. The abolition of milk quotas by 2015 presents an opportunity to dramatically increase production of milk and added value products. The changing pattern of protein consumption globally and premium EU markets provide opportunities to increase the value and value-added components of Irish meat exports and drinks and other companies are currently taking decisions on future investment. International market demand for whiskey is increasing providing a huge opportunity for increased Irish production and marketing by the multi-national companies who have invested in Irish whiskey”.