What has changed?
- There are no substantial changes in the programme.
- Food Wise 2025 will be the blueprint for the agri-food sector.
- A new tax on sugar sweetened drinks will be one of the methods of funding reductions in personal tax rates. Ibec recommends that this tax should not be introduced.
Positives for business
- Acknowledgement that development of agri-food is a fundamental priority for the future of the country.
- Continuation of implementation of FoodHarvest 2020 and FoodWise 2025.
- Agriculture acknowledged as having a very significant role to play in meeting our climate change targets.
- A priority for the new Government will be to safeguard Ireland's defensive and offensive interests in the context of any future international trade agreements.
Outstanding issues and missed opportunities
- Taxes on sugar sweetened drinks taxes are ineffective, regressive in nature and purely fiscal with no health benefit. The focus should be on effective public health measures to reduce obesity rates such as portion control and product recipe reformulation.
- Limited focus on the processing sector which with the full implementation of the national agri-food strategy will continue to deliver export growth and create jobs.
- Ibec recommends that the focus on attracting new investment is widened to sustaining and growing successful medium and large enterprises rather than just small businesses.
- Grocery sector regulations should focus on their effectiveness and on ensuring efficiency in the grocery supply chain.
- Ibec recommends that the development of new market opportunities also address the issue of market access. This requires dedicated resources at regulatory, policy and diplomatic levels in addition to marketing.
- The commitment that state enterprise bodies will review viable business plans to rebuild a sugar industry with a view to considering state supports is welcomed but is inconsistent with the proposal to tax sugar sweetened drinks.
- Promotion of live exports undermines value-add and job creation.
Contact Paul Kelly, Food and Drink Industry Ireland at email@example.com