• The Geographical Spread and the Economic Impact of Food Harvest 2020 – A Regional Perspective.

      Carey, Mary; O'Donoghue, Cathal (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2013)
      Recently the agri-food sector has received increased attention in Ireland. The agri-food sector has been the traditional backbone of Irish exports, and despite the economic downturn Irish exports in this sector grew by an impressive 12 percent in 2011 (CSO 2012). The agri-food sector is regarded as Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, the potential of the sector in terms of exports, and its heavy dependence on domestic inputs are the key reasons for the increased attention. The real economic value of the agri-food sector in Ireland is analysed at national, and most importantly for this paper, at regional level. This paper examines the impact of the agri-food sector in addressing regional disparities in Ireland. The estimation of the true value of the agri-food sector is evaluated at regional level by analysing Gross Value Added, employment levels and productivity rates for the sector expressed in percentage of regional values. Gross-Value-Added in absolute terms and as a percentage of regional Gross-Value- Added provides us with a more thorough understanding of the regional importance of certain industries within the sector. In terms of employment, the rural context of the agri-food sector is discussed, including the geographical spread of the sector. A comparison of regional productivity levels is analysed at national and regional level. In addition, this paper geographically distributes the change in output and employment if the four main sector specific Food Harvest 2020 targets are achieved. As a preliminary contour of the agri-food sector in Ireland this research will be useful to all the key players in the sector.