Food Wise 2025, the latest ten year strategy for the agri-food sector published in July 2015, is the successor to the Food Harvest strategy. It identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow the sector to grow and prosper. Food Wise includes more than 400 specific recommendations, spread across the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation, human capital, market development and competitiveness, as well as specific sectoral recommendations.
If these recommendations are implemented, the expert committee, which drew up the Food Wise 2025 Strategy, believed that the following growth projections are achievable by 2025: increasing the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion; increasing value added in the sector by 70% to in excess of €13 billion; and increasing the value of primary production by 65% to almost €10 billion. With regard to employment, Food Wise foresees the creation of 23,000 additional jobs in the agri-food sector all along the supply chain from primary production to high value added product development.
There are a number of competitiveness recommendations and actions that are being progressed through the Food Wise High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC). I chair the Committee, which is made up of high-level representatives from all the relevant Departments and State agencies and reviews progress on the detailed actions on a quarterly basis. Stakeholders regularly present to the Committee on priorities for particular sectors or themes, and competitiveness was discussed at the Committee in June this year.
In July this year, I launched the third annual progress report of Food Wise 2025: Steps to Success 2018. This showed that, of the 375 detailed actions which were due to commence by 2018 or are on-going actions, 74% have been achieved or substantial action has been undertaken,and a further 26% have commenced and are progressing well.