The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD, officially launched the Borders, Midland and Western (BMW) Regional Food Event and Product Showcase last week. The event provides an opportunity for food and drink producers in the region to showcase their products to local retail and food service buyers and was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone.
The event forms part of a series of regional events which commenced in 2011 and was part of a joint agency initiative led by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Bord Bia in conjunction with Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland, LEADER groups, and County and City Enterprise Boards. The aim was to stimulate awareness and create demand for local food, thereby increasing the potential market size for local food producers and generating additional sales.
“This is an important scheme for protecting quality food and drink products with a characteristic link to a particular geographical area,” the Minister said, adding that there was potential to expand the scheme in Ireland.
“The protected geographical indications quality schemes can create valuable market opportunities for producers of quality regional foods.
“Within Europe, these schemes offer potential to recognise artisan food that is linked to a geographical region. Agricultural products and foodstuffs can apply for recognition where a link exists between the characteristics of a product or foodstuff and the defined geographical area.
“My Department will be having further discussions with Bord Bia, BIM and industry to identify more products with potential to meet the specific criteria set down in the EU Regulations and to encourage applications from groups of producers,” the Minister concluded.