THE recently-published Food Harvest 2020 report heralds an exciting phase in the evolution and growth of the Irish dairy industry.
Glanbia Ingredients Ireland chief executive Jim Bergin made the claim at the Agricultural Science Association conference in Tullow.
The principal targets of the report are the growth of food and beverage exports by one-third to €12 billion, the increase of milk production by 50% and the addition of 20% to the value of the beef sector.
Mr Bergin pledged the full support of Glanbia, Ireland’s largest milk processor, in implementing an industry-wide strategy to optimise dairy development opportunities.
“The economic opportunity presented by the removal of milk quotas and growing global markets is one which places Irish milk production right up there on the national agenda,” he said. “It is a market-based opportunity focused on global markets without the supports of the past. Therefore, it challenges the industry’s competitiveness and market focus.” He said the shareholder supplier and co-op processor must be “joined at the hip” in evaluating investment opportunities as the market becomes the sole determinant of price.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minster Brendan Smith will this week chair the first meeting of a group tasked with implementing the strategies outlined in the report.
IFA president John Bryan welcomed Mr Smith’s move to establish a cross-department high-level group to assist in delivering the growth potential set out in the report. He said: “The Irish farming and food sector is clearly starting to show its potential to assist in our economic recovery, as on-farm production, prices and food exports will all increase significantly in 2010.”
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