Agri-food accounts for a third of Cornwall’s economy

Cornish agriculture, food and drink is becoming increasingly important, accounting for almost 30% of all jobs in the county.

That is double the national average, and equates to at least 63,700 jobs across the supply chain. The figures come from research commissioned by the Cornwall Development Company and carried out by Exeter University.

Turnover of the combined industries reached at least £1.4bn in 2010 and accounted for about 18% of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s economic output. This is £150m more on a like-for-like basis than in 2006.

Alongside a report by Cornwall Food and Drink, the findings would be used to guide future strategy in councils, local enterprise partnerships and allocation of European grant funding, said David Rodda, rural delivery manager at the Cornwall Development Company.

Cornwall food and drink facts

• Core agri-food jobs make up 11.3% of the county’s employment, with other related jobs bringing the total to 29.1%
• Livestock farming accounted for 74% of total value at farmgate
• Dairy production continues to concentrate into fewer larger herds – proportion of dairy breeding animals in herds of 200 and larger rose to 30%
• Beef self sufficiency for the county is 325% and at least 80% of prime beef is slaughtered locally
• Beef production accounts for 23% of farmgate value
• Although Cornwall was 161% self-sufficient in sheep meat, less than half of prime lambs were slaughtered in the county.  


“It is clear from the studies that Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have an incredibly strong, vibrant and important agri-food industry,” he said.

“However, no-one should be complacent. We will be working hard to establish a strategy that capitalises on our strengths and continues to build real value into the sector to protect it in the longer term.”

Potential opportunities included continuing to expand dairy processing capacity and adding value, whether through new products or markets.

“The Cornish brand is very strong and I’m convinced export markets will open up over time. The vast majority of our businesses are small compared to the rest of the country, and we will always have extra costs due to our location.

“However, because of the scale of the industry, if we make a small difference to productivity it will make a massive difference to the Cornish economy.”

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