Funding of €6.745m for Bord Bia to undertake additional activities to support the food and drink sector, in addressing market challenges relating to Brexit, has been announced by Minister Michael Creed.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine says this is part of a wider strategy, linking its market access efforts to those of agencies such as Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland, and using Ireland’s network of embassies as a hub, to develop the profile of Ireland’s food sector and improve access to a wider range of markets worldwide.
The funding is additional to the €1.6m provided to Bord Bia in Autumn 2016 for grants to assist food companies highly dependent on the UK market and the €2m already provided to Bord Bia in 2017 for increased expenditure on programmes.
“This programme of activities draws on analysis of data from the Bord Bia Brexit Barometer exercise which was completed by 139 food, drink and horticulture companies and follows my request to Bord Bia to undertake a major market prioritisation exercise to identify the best prospects for sustainable growth in individual sectors," Minister Creed said.
"The programme is wide-ranging, well thought through and ambitious. It is, in my view, an appropriate element of our response to the marketing challenges presented by Brexit in terms of business development and diversification."
The Department said today’s announcement is in addition to a number of initiatives already announced by Minister Creed, which include the re-configuration of the market access effort within the Department and the provision of additional resources for this purpose; the development of a new portal website which will bring together in the one location the full range of open markets and products; and the relevant conditions of certification in a user-friendly manner for exporters, and a programme of trade missions to provide an opportunity to Irish exporters to develop a market profile and presence in third countries.
"This funding is part of an overall drive for a joint government, agency, industry and company strategy for market diversification as part of a response to the unprecedented challenges potentially presented by Brexit and already visible in terms of currency volatility. I am particularly pleased that companies with a significant dependence on the UK market will benefit from an additional €250,000 in marketing grants, which will bring total projected expenditure on grant schemes in 2017 to €1.45m, and that a further €200,000 is planned to continue and extend support to horticulture companies undertaking lean projects," Minister Creed said.
He added: “In November I will be leading a trade mission to Japan and the Republic of Korea. This follows trade missions in the past year to China, Singapore, North Africa, the Gulf States, the US and Mexico. Minister Doyle has also led a trade mission to Vietnam and the Republic of Korea. My Department has built its international presence and now has attachés based in countries both within and outside the EU including Washington, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.
"My Department works very closely with the Irish embassy network, and with Bord Bia, who also have officers in locations around the world, with the most recent offices opened in Singapore and Warsaw."
The Minister said the €6.7m comprises an additional €300,000 for market prioritisation, €4.4m towards market promotion and supports in international, UK and other EU markets, €1.6m to strengthen strategic marketing processes and €400,000 in funding for a two-year MSc in Insight and Innovation in NUI Maynooth, which was recently launched by Bord Bia.