Wexford Food Producers highlight challenges at recent AGM

The Wexford Food Producers Network CLG hosted its 2024 Annual General Meeting & Networking Event last Thursday 27th June 2024 at Marlfield House, Gorey, Co. Wexford with over fifty representatives of Wexford’s food producer companies in attendance.

The rising costs of running a food production company in Ireland today combined with forthcoming legislative food safety regulations coming down the track were some of the important issues raised by members of the organisation at the recent Annual General Meeting.

The Food, Drink & Primary Production sector accounts for 40% of all export sales by Irish-owned companies, directly supporting 165,000 jobs, or 6.5% of total employment, predominantly in rural and coastal communities. The Wexford Food Producers Network CLG provides a centralised member led and member representative organisation with a core remit to promote and support the business of Wexford food. The organisation has over fifty members who are Wexford based sole traders, SME’s and large companies.The organisation contributes to building a sustainable food industry that works collaboratively to achieve a stronger economic impact not only for Wexford based companies but for the wider Irish economy.

Speaking about the challenges Chairperson Trudie Power spoke of the difficulties many Wexford food production companies face in their respective businesses.

“The cost of doing business in Ireland post pandemic has considerably increased and many challenges lie ahead not only for well established businesses but for our micro enterprise category members who are only just starting out on their food production journey. Increases in delivery costs due to significant rise in fuel costs, cost of building materials and labour while upgrading premises, availability of a trained workforce as businesses grow and the cost of raw materials have all increased significantly.
Now more than ever the relationship between our food producers and Wexford Local Enterprise Office is so very important as they provide vital support to new and established Wexford food production companies”
 she said.

To address some of these current challenges Breege Cosgrave, Head of the Economic Unit, Wexford Co. Council attended the meeting to meet and discuss these issues with the organisation and its members.Representatives from Wexford Local Enterprise Office were also in attendance to meet with each of the Wexford food company representatives to advise them on support, expertise and potential funding streams available to them via the local agency. A presentation was hosted by Annette Rowsome, Senior Enterprise Development Officer highlighting various opportunities whereby micro enterprise food companies starting their journey in food production can seek advice and various funding streams support.

This year Wexford food producers will participate in various events across the country to engage with new audiences and spread the word of Wexford foods and beverages. Forthcoming events include a ‘Wexford Fleadh Artisan Food Hall’ which will run from the 7th – 11th August 2024 at The Wexford Presbyterian Church, Anne Street, Wexford as part of the forthcoming celebrations. The organisation will also be represented at the forthcoming Blás na hEireann Awards, Dingle, Wexford Festival Opera and Gifted at the RDS later this year.

The Wexford Food Producers Network is recognised and supported by Wexford County Council, Wexford Local Enterprise Office and Wexford Local Development. The Wexford Food Producers Network engages with the Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine and with national agencies Bord Bia, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Ornua –The Irish Dairy Board and Fáilte Ireland on various important issues for the Irish Food & Drinks sector.

For further information please visit www.wexfordfoodfamily.com

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