Professor Gerry Boyle: Agri-food sector provides a beacon of opportunity
THE agri-food sector was the Cinderella sector during the Celtic Tiger years. More recently it has become a beacon of opportunity. Overall the medium-term prospects are positive, despite market-price volatility.
Ambitious growth targets have been set for the sector in the Food Harvest 2020 report. If this growth and expansion is achieved, it's estimated that up to 34,000 jobs could be created, depending on the employment intensity of the expansion of the different sectors. However, to make this happen and to realise the potential of the sector, significant investment will be required over the next few years. Farmers and agri-businesses will only invest if there is economic stability. In the context of the forthcoming fiscal compact treaty an outcome that promotes macroeconomic stability will be critical to ensuring the necessary investment for growth will be forthcoming.
The farm organisations, the major milk, meat and grain based agri-food businesses, along with small food producers have come together to support the Stability Treaty, as they see it as necessary for economic stability.