Food Wise 2025, the latest ten year strategy for the agri-food sector published in July 2015, identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow the sector to develop 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 that drew up the Food Wise 2025 Strategy believes that various growth projections are achievable by 2025 including 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.
According to the CSO’s Labour Force Survey, employment in the agri-food sector accounts for an average of 172,800 jobs in 2018 or 7.7% of total employment. Agriculture, forestry and fishing accounts for around 109,000 while the food and beverages sector employs close to 58,000, with wood and wood processing accounting for a further 6,000 jobs.
While the overall level of employment from these sectors is less than 8% of total employment nationwide, the proportion of employment outside Dublin is much greater. Census 2016 data shows that in the Border region the agri-food sector employment accounted for 14.2% of overall employment and accounted for over 12% in the south-east region.