“Don’t take growth for granted” warns ABFI

In its recent submission to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the diversification of the tillage sector in Ireland, representatives of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland told the Committee that the drinks industry has achieved robust export growth which is directly benefitting Irish farmers.

“Irish breweries and distilleries are proud to work with a wide range of Irish agricultural suppliers to source malted barley, unmalted grains as well as fresh Irish cream used in Irish cream liqueurs and apples used in cider,” said ABFI Director Patricia Callan, “Increasing export growth will lead to increased demand for Irish agricultural raw materials and the commitments being made by Irish drinks producers under Bord Bia’s ‘Origin Green’ scheme mean more agricultural raw materials will be sourced locally. Growth in the Irish drink industry will deliver for Ireland’s farmers.”

But the Committee also heard about how the significant threat contained in the Public Health Alcohol Bill may impact the drinks industry and in turn the agricultural sector.

“Growth should not be taken for granted,” warned Patricia Callan, “The proposals contained in the Government’s Public Health Alcohol Bill will undermine competition, innovation and investment in the Irish drinks industry. The bill will also greatly limit the capacity of the industry to deliver on the Government’s FoodWise 2025 targets which otherwise we would greatly exceed.

“One of the biggest concerns for the industry is that the Bill will make Ireland one of the most restrictive countries in the world for the marketing of alcohol products. In fact, the very farmers who supply the industry will be banned from ads. For example, images of farmers in barley fields and orchards will be prohibited,” she stated, “We believe there’s scope for reasonable amendments on advertising and labelling which would protect competition, innovation and investment in the industry, support the ongoing delivery of FoodWise 2025 and in turn sustain the capacity of Irish breweries and distilleries to increase their purchases of Irish grain and malt.”



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