Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector, today said Bord Bia export figures for 2016 highlighted the challenges facing the sector and reinforce the need for significant government investment in market development.
FDII Director Paul Kelly said: "Currency pressure following the Brexit vote have already hit exports and jobs. These problems have the potential to get a lot worse in the event of a single market fracture post-Brexit.
"The national agri-food strategy ‘FoodWise 2025’ identifies market development as one of the key strategic pillars to deliver growth. Brexit however has put that aspiration into sharp focus given currency challenges and potential new barriers to market access.
"A market diversification and product innovation strategy is required which focusses on maintaining UK market share, increasing exports to other EU and international markets and investing more in product development. Government should allocate €25m to support the following:
- Government departments must be provided with the necessary resources to support rapid market access
- State agencies (Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland) must be provided with the necessary re-sources to support market development; in-market intelligence, in-market promotion, and in-market trade support
- Enterprises must be provided with support through the state agencies for market develop-ment and investment in international sales and marketing. This should include support for placement of marketing executives in international markets by food and drink businesses.
- State supported trade financing should be examined as part of a wider ‘access to finance’ package”.