Fine Gael TD for Kildare South and Chair of Fine Gael’s Agriculture Committee, Martin Heydon, has welcomed Food Wise 2025, Ireland’s new ten year strategy for the agri-food Sector, announced this week by the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD.

“With over 350 recommendations, Food Wise 2025 sets out a comprehensive plan for the development of Ireland’s agri-food sector over the next decade.  It is a strong statement of the potential of the agri-food sector to lead Ireland’s economic recovery. The Government is rebuilding our economy and the agri-food sector is playing a crucial role in delivering jobs and creating a successful, sustainable national economy.

“But this is about more than the economy. It is about sustaining rural communities. The agri-food sector is vital to enabling people to live and raise their families in rural Ireland. 

“To that end, it is very encouraging that there is such a strong focus on rural diversification, entrepreneurial development and agri-food and marine tourism. Support for these areas is vital if we are to create a sustainable rural economy for the future.

“Food Wise 2025 is underscored by ambitious but achievable goals. Chief among these goals is that the agri-food sector will help deliver a further 23,000 jobs by 2025.

 “Over the next decade Ireland can:

·    increase the value of agri food exports by 85% to €19 billion

·    increase value added to the sector by 70% to €13 billion

·    increase the value of primary production by 65% to €10 billion.

 “There is a real opportunity to capitalise on the growing global demand for high quality, safe and nutritious food, particularly in Asia and Africa. Food Wise 2025 is a statement of intent in order to capitalise on the ever-increasing global demand for food and for new and innovative food solutions. We in Ireland are well placed to help meet these demands. Let’s rise to the challenge. Our rural communities will be all the stronger as a result.”