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Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports Reach Record Levels

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Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports Reach Record Levels

Ireland’s Food and Drink Exports Reach Record Levels
January 12
15:16 2012

The value of Irish food and drink exports increased by 12%, or Eur1 billion, in 2011 to reach an all-time high of Eur8.85 billion, according to Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board. For the first nine months of the year, food and drink exports increased at three times the rate of Ireland’s total merchandise exports. As a result the sector accounted for 25% of the rise in total export revenue. Over the last two years, the value of Irish food and drink exports has increased by Eur1.8 billion or 25%.

Michael Carey, chairman of Bord Bia, comments: “This is an excellent achievement and the industry is to be commended for its strong export performance, which affirms its positioning at the heart of the Irish economy. Global market conditions, reflected in strong commodity prices, remain favourable and exporters are voicing continued optimism about their business prospects for the year ahead. The industry is well on track to deliver on the ambitious targets of Food Harvest 2020.”

The 2011 export performance was boosted by global prices for major commodities, a positive supply/demand balance in some key categories, a tentative return to price inflation across most major European markets and reduced volatility in exchange rates. Agricultural commodity prices remain at record levels with the FAO food price index recording growth of 26% during the first 11 months of 2011. A number of key sectors – including dairy, beverages and pigmeat – also recorded higher output. Overall, it is estimated that volume growth accounted for 25% of the rise in food and drink exports. The strongest performing categories were dairy (Eur2.6 billion), meat (Eur2.59 billion), prepared foods (Eur1.5 billion) and seafood (Eur420 million).

“Among the notable developments during the year are the continued diversification by industry into new markets, with exports to Asia up by one-third, the exceptional performance of the beef industry in achieving an increase in market returns almost twice the European average, and the expansion intentions of producers that assures future growth,” says Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia. “The meat and dairy sectors account for almost two-thirds of total food and drink exports, and indications that breeding herds are expanding, combined with the lifting of milk quotas from 2015, will underpin export growth into the future.”

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