The agrifood sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, accounting for 7.9% of total employment (173,000 people), and supporting approximately 120,000 family farms. This sector accounted for approximately 4.9% of Ireland’s Gross Value Added atfactor cost in 2018. 64% of Irelands milk production is from Munster, while 26% of Irelands milk production is from Cork, with approximately 54% of Irish dairyfarms located in Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. County Cork is a lighthouse region for agrifood and agritech academic expertise with Tyndall, Teagasc, UCC and CIT all based in Cork.
Regionally, agrifood is the biggest indigenous industry in Cork and is expanding rapidly. Agriculture accounts for 6.5% of employment in the South-West region, with the South-Westregion accounting for 21.1% of national agriculture output in 2018. In 2018, the South-West region accounted for 32.2% of national livestock products, and 32.7% of national milk output. Progressive steps are being taken in Ireland to further improve the efficiency and sustainability of food production from what is already a leading position.
Ireland has unique natural advantages for farming in an environmentally friendly way and has responsibly faced up to thechallenges of addressing agricultural emissions while preserving the natural environment. A range of programmes are in place aimed at improving carbon efficiency, reducing and mitigating emissions, while protecting water quality and biodiversity. The agrifood sector in Ireland is currently under pinned by Food Wise 2025, this national plan underline’s the sector’s unique and special position within the Irish economy, and illustrates the potential which exists for this sector to grow exponentially. The plan projects that exports have the potential to grow to €19bn each year by 2025 by creating an additional 23,000 jobs.