Food and beverage sector key to 30,000 new jobs
AS many as 30,000 new jobs could be created in Ireland's food and beverage sector by 2020, if ambitious export growth targets laid out in a new blueprint being launched this morning by business body IBEC can be achieved.
In its 'Sharing the Harvest' report, IBEC says the Government needs to put the "right policies" in place and that financing facilities have to be developed to help support expansion and the growth of new companies in the sector.
"The food sector spends €7.9bn, or 76pc of its total expenditure on Irish goods and services," according to IBEC director Paul Kelly.
"This represents a significantly higher contribution to the domestic economy than in any other area of manufacturing. If we increase exports to €12bn, the sector will potentially deliver in the region of 30,000 jobs across the whole economy due to the proportionate increase in spend by the sector," he claimed.
He added that Ireland's food and beverage industry has already rebounded from lows witnessed in 2007, with exports of €9bn last year.
But he insisted that continued export growth and additional job creation is only possible if public policy is aligned with the needs of the sector.
Such moves would include putting a proposed grocery code in place immediately after primary legislation is enacted, and also taking a new approach to education related to nutrition and obesity, according to IBEC.
That new grocery bill is due to be introduced before the end of the year. It aims to protect against any unfair practices in the trade.