The Irish Department of Agriculture’s Food Harvest 2020 programme sets our ambitious targets and goals for the fisheries, artisan foods, and horticulture sectors in Ireland, for example:
- Fisheries: ‘increase revenue to €1 billion and employment to 14,000 full-time equivalent jobs by 2020 in sea fisheries and aquaculture, with a 78% increase in aquaculture volume production’…. However …. ‘Irish fish processing sector in 2010 consists of 200 firms, 50% of which have a turnover of less than €1 million each. A lack of scale, higher production costs and inconsistency of product supply adversely affect the profitability of the sector.’
- Horticulture: ‘Existing development programmes and schemes should be looked at, and restructured, if necessary, to assist the commercialisation and adoption of new developments in horticultural technology’ …. Other solutions put forward include …. ‘the best way to do this was through a coordinated approach where businesses, both large and small would combine resources to exploit new opportunities’.
- Artisan food: ‘The emergence of a significant artisan food sector, responding to consumer demands for locally produced, hand-crafted food products, has brought a new stream of entrepreneurs into the sector’ ….. The report states that they would like to advance this sector through the….. ‘Encouragement of an entrepreneurial approach to the development of high potential start-up food businesses and dynamic artisan producers’
Each of these areas point towards greater potential for a co-operative business solution, through scaling up and developing economies of scale; sharing services, for example in marketing or machinery rings; reducing the capital burden on start-ups through co-operative share capital. More importantly, co-operative business structures developed with the assistance of ICOS provide the opportunity to ensure a sustainable business that promotes:
- Shared-ownership and democratic member control
- Good governance
- Self-reliance and responsibility
To learn more about setting up a co-operative please go to Starting a Co-operative.
Did You Know?
Ireland's seafood industry contributes about €700 million annually to national income and employs 11,000 people.
Ireland's artisan food industry is estimated to be worth about €450m.
The horticulture and potato sector contributes approximately €370 million to farm output.
ICOS is a stakeholder in the Irish Governments Food Harvest 2020 initiative.