Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
22. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if she will report on the recent Enterprise Ireland trade visit to the SPACE tradeshow; if animal welfare features in agri-tech innovations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42765/17]
The Food and Agribusiness sectors are vital to the prosperity of the Irish economy. In 2016, Enterprise Ireland supported clients reported exports of €21.6 billion, 49 per cent of this was from the Food Sector. Of the 201,108 people employed in Enterprise Ireland supported companies, just over 58,000 were from the Food sector (28.8%). Food sector clients represented 19% (just over 3,700) of the total jobs created in Enterprise Ireland companies in 2016 (19,244).
Ireland’s investment in research and innovation has been instrumental in strengthening indigenous enterprise, in securing, diversifying and growing foreign direct investment, in licensing new technologies, in establishing new companies, and in providing the highly educated workforce needed to grow the economy and contribute to society. Innovation is, and will continue to be, one of Ireland’s key differentiators.
Enterprise Ireland’s trade events are key supports for companies with global ambition and market diversification strategies. The agency’s programme of trade missions, trade fairs and knowledge events give clients the opportunity to connect with existing and new customers, access key decision makers, increase sales in international markets and exchange ideas. This is increasingly important in the light of Brexit and other global challenges.
In September of this year, Minister for Trade, Employment and Business, Pat Breen TD, led Enterprise Ireland’s delegation to SPACE, the largest animal production show in France. This trade visit focused on promoting the innovative capabilities of Irish agri-tech companies in areas including connected agriculture, the use of data in agriculture and progress in the area of automation and robotics. At this event Irish agri-tech companies showcased their innovations to over 100,000 attendees from 120 countries.
The trade visit also maximised business opportunities for Enterprise Ireland client companies to pitch their products to an audience of farmers, influencers and potential buyers in the specially convened ‘Enterprise Ireland Innovation Area’, the programme for which included;
* Pitches from seven Enterprise Ireland agri-tech clients to potential customers,
* A Technology in Agriculture panel which was addressed by Minister Breen followed by a short talk by Kieran Furlong, Finistere of the Agri tech landscape both in France and Ireland and the challenges and opportunities for the Agri tech sector in France presented by Jean-Baptiste Cuisinier, Président/CEO of CapAgro, France.
* A networking area where Enterprise Ireland facilitated introductions between Irish client companies and French agri-tech decision-makers as well as potential partners and distributors in France
* Business to business meetings between potential distributors and partners coordinated by the Enterprise Europe Network.
With regards to animal welfare, it is stated in all contracts between EI and client companies that the client must be compliant with all relevant national legislation. Enterprise Ireland itself is not responsible for such legislation – that falls under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. I am aware that their Competitive Research Programme has provided over €3.6 million in funding to seven ongoing or recently completed projects that include in the scope of their work ideas surrounding the adoption of technology-based tools in order to address animal welfare challenges. Any further questions on this would be a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, T.D..