Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister, has described Bord Bia’s new national Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme as vital for the promotion of Irish dairy produce in export markets.
Bord Bia’s will spend almost €3.5m next year in a targeted marketing campaign, under the ‘Origin Green’ banner, to promote Ireland as a source of world-class sustainably-produced food and drink. Irish dairy exports are worth around €2.6bn annually.
Mr Coveney said the programme was an essential building block for a dairy industry set to increase production by 50% with the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.
“Sustainable sourcing is a key strategy for procurement directors in many multinational food companies and today we are taking a major step forward in developing a brand image for Irish dairy,” he said.
Bord Bia chairman, Michael Carey, said international food groups including Unilever, Nestle, Danone, and Kraft have set out long-term targets to enhance the sustainability of their supply chain. The new ISO-accredited assurance scheme will give Irish dairy exports a competitive edge with large corporate customers of this kind.
The rollout of scheme will begin in January. Dairy farmers can apply directly to Bord Bia, but it is expected most applications will come through milk purchasers and co-ops.
IFA national dairy committee chairman, Kevin Kiersey, said there was an onus on the dairy industry and Bord Bia to communicate to farmers the value of the scheme.
“IFA fully understands the importance of quality assurance schemes in protecting our ability to market our products. The acid test for farmers will be seen by the development of high value markets that maximise returns and reduce price volatility,” he said.
The €3.5m fund will support Bord Bia activities such as its consumer insight team marketing fellowships and its international office network. It is opening a new office in Dubai next month. During 2014, Bord Bia will participate in 15 trade exhibitions.
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