A MAJOR NEW report by the IBEC group that represents the food and beverage sector has indicated that the industry will create 30,000 news jobs by 2020.
Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) has published a new report analysing the impact the agri-food sector has on the wider economy entitled Sharing the Harvest: The Food and Drink Sector Jobs Dividend.
The FDII reports that 230,000 jobs are currently linked to the sector, which spends €7.9 billion in the Irish economy on goods and services annually, and suggests that 30,000 new jobs could be created if the sector achieves the ambitious export growth targets proposed in the next eight years.
In order achieve the targets, the reports says that agri-food the sector needs financing facilities to support expansion and the development of new companies in the sector, and reduced business costs. It has called on the Government to put policies in place for the sector.
FDII Director Paul Kelly said: “Ireland’s food and drink sector is deeply embedded in the Irish economy, which means that an increased focus on food will drive growth in the wider economy as well as in the sector itself. The food sector spends €7.9 billion, or 76 per cent of its total expenditure, on Irish goods and services.”
Kelly said that the sector represents a significantly higher contribution to the domestic economy “than in any other area of manufacturing”. He suggested that if exports were increased to €12 billion, the sector could deliver in the region of 30,000 jobs across the whole economy.
“The sector’s exports have already rebounded from lows experienced in 2007 and reached a new high last year,” he said. “However, continued export growth and the accompanying job creation are only possible if public policy is aligned with the needs of the sector.”
He said measures to maintain the competitiveness of the sector were the areas of particular importance, and should include:
- Ensuring a sustainable supply of cost competitive raw materials
- Influencing the redevelopment of the EU state aid regime for the post 2013 period
- Putting the proposed grocery code in place immediately after primary legislation is enacted
- Adopting a genuine whole of society approach to nutrition and obesity based on scientific evidence rather than ineffective polices such as advertising restrictions and discriminatory taxes
The full report: Sharing the Harvest: The Food and Drink Sector Jobs Dividend>