As a strategic research and innovation base, MTI will create what the government has called a “one-stop shop” for centralised research for beef and sheep meat processing in Ireland.
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, launched MTI at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin on 13 April.
O’Connor said MTI would build a “competitive advantage” for Irish meat through investment in research and innovation, the aim of which is to get meat processors and research institutions working together to develop “innovative technologies leading to job creation”.
Export growth target
MTI will benefit from €8.1m-worth of research and innovation funding over the next five years through Enterprise Ireland – a government agency providing financial support to Irish companies keen to boost exports.
Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said its financial support for MTI would “ultimately contribute to export growth”. She added that further innovation was needed to ensure Irish business remained competitive, with Ireland concerned Brexit will impact trade with the UK, its top importer of agricultural produce.
Meanwhile, Creed said MTI could “mitigate” the impact of Brexit and help Ireland’s meat industry meet the government’s Food Wise 2025 targets. These include increasing the value of agri-food exports by 85% and creating over 23,000 direct jobs in the industry by 2025.
The government could not confirm how many jobs would be created through MTI.
Ireland’s Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ashtown, Dublin, will be the home of MTI and serves as the hub to coordinate beef and sheepmeat processing research.
The Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, University College Cork and the Irish Cattle Breeders Federation will act as research providers for MTI.
ABP Ireland, Ashbourne Meat Processors, Dawn Meats, Dunbia, Hilton Foods Ireland, Irish Country Meats, Kepak Group, Liffey Meats, and Slaney Foods International are the companies behind the initiative.