Unveiling Secad’s ‘Artisan Food Enterprise and Innovation Strategy 2015-2020’ report, Mr Howard said there are more than 100 active food processors operating in the south-east Cork region.
Targeted investment would boost the region’s recovery.
Mr Howard said: “We need further investment in the next generation of artisan food enterprise success stories.
"We need investment from grass roots in artisan food startups and ongoing investment in established enterprises to get them to a level where they can scale up to the next level sustainably.”
The Secad chief was speaking ahead of next weekend’s Midleton Food Festival.
The artisan food report, commissioned by Secad, is the result of in-depth research and an analysis of the future development requirements.
The report highlights south-east Cork’s growing food reputation.
The report outlines a strategic pathway for growth artisan food in the region, and adds that Secad is ideally positioned to support that growth.
Supports include mentoring, specific food-related training, product and business innovation, access to research and development and the establishment of food clusters and food business networks.
“The report has developed a vision and pathway for the artisan food sector in Cork that will create more jobs, promote and develop the sector sustainably and ensure the region is equipped to capitalise on the opportunity to build high quality artisan food companies in this region,” said Mr Howard.
Secad has supported rural development and social inclusion initiatives in East Cork area since 1995, backed by the EU and the Government through the National Development Plan.
Secad serves some 148,000 people in Cork harbour and surrounding areas.
Its towns include Cobh, Midleton, Youghal, Carrigaline, and Ballincollig, and villages such as Glanmire, Carrigtwohill ,Crosshaven, Ballycotton, Dungourney, and Roberts Cove.