Irish small food producers urged to contribute to EU funding consultation
2016-01-22 16:01:11 -
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By Staff Reporter

 

An EU initiative to drive growth in the food sector is calling on micro, small and medium food producers in Ireland to share their views and inform a key set of funding recommendations for the sector to the European Commission.

The TradeIt Network, led by the Institute of Technology in Tralee, has been engaged in an EU-wide consultation with small to medium enterprise (SME) food producers since 2013.

This engagement, via nine national hubs, aimed to identify the innovation opportunities, needs and challenges of traditional food-based enterprises.

The final phase of the project involves the completion of a strategic research and innovation agenda (SRIA) for the sector which will be presented to the European Commission.

More than 150 small Irish food producers have been actively involved to date, among 850 in total across nine EU countries.

“The outcomes presented in the draft SRIA following almost three years are not as anticipated,” said Dr Helena McMahon, TradeIt lead at IT Tralee. “It is clearly evident that the needs of these small-to-micro SMEs differ greatly from the larger food industry and require specific innovation supports and actions.

“We urgently need further feedback from micro and SME food producers to ensure that their needs are met. This is a unique opportunity for small Irish food producers to share their views. It’s an opportunity to take control, drive their own support agenda and influence the shape of future funding in 2020 and beyond.”

Irish food production SMEs are invited to input on the open consultation until 11 February by contacting Prof Brian McKenna at sria@tradeitnetwork.eu. The SRIA document may also be requested from the TradeIt website at www.tradeitnetwork.eu/sria.

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