AGRICULTURE Minister Brendan Smith welcomed the key role for the food sector in the Government’s five-year plan to generate 300,000 jobs and boost exports.
“The integrated plan will help agencies such as Bord Bia and Bord Iascaigh Mhara to expand their market share overseas and it is very much in keeping with the aims of Food Harvest 2020 to boost food exports by one-third over the next decade,” said Mr Smith.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen listed food as one of the important global industries where Ireland is a big player – along with tourism, electronics, life sciences, construction and engineering, financial and business services, software and retail consumer products.
Trade and Commerce Minister Billy Kelleher said agriculture and food is one of the sectors where the five-year plan will enable Ireland to maximise returns from existing and emerging markets, by linking exports and inward investment with the overseas promotional activities of other sectors such as tourism, culture and sport.
The plan, Trading and Investing in a Smart Economy, is the first integrated strategy to promote overseas trade, tourism and investment.
The aims include the creation of over 150,000 direct new jobs in manufacturing, tourism and internationally trading services, with another 150,000 spin-off jobs; increasing exports by indigenous agency-assisted firms by one-third; increasing overseas visitors to eight million; and attracting an extra 780 foreign investment projects.
A new foreign trade council comprising all relevant Departments and agencies will implement the plan, devising new ‘brand Ireland’ initiatives; exploiting marketing platforms such as St Patrick’s Day and trade missions; opening new markets for small and medium-sized enterprises; aligning visa policy with strategic business interests, and maximising the effectiveness of overseas representatives in key markets.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved