Record export levels for Irish food and beverages have been announced by Bord Bia for 2012, with the total worth of exports passing the €9 billion mark.
Bord Bia said the Irish food and drink sector had put in a “robust export” performance in 2012 despite an 8 per cent easing in global commodity prices, with the 17 per cent increase in seafood exports (€75 million) highlighted.
Growing trade with China and other Asian markets was noted in the report, with Irish Whiskey and other beverages seen as being particularly important for such markets. Meanwhile, existing trade continued in the United States and Middle Eastern markets, while emerging trade was noted with some African countries.
The United Kingdom is estimated to have accounted for 42 per cent of total Irish food and drink exports in 2012, with trade increasing by 5 per cent – or almost €170 million – to reach €3.8 billion. The main drivers of export growth to the UK were beef, seafood and dairy and to a lesser extent pigmeat and horticulture
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney today welcomed the results, saying it was a great achievement an industry facing challenging conditions.
“These exports consolidate the growth of the previous two years and demonstrate the importance of a sustainable and dynamic agri-food sector to Ireland’s economic recovery,” Coveney said. “Our agri-food sector is of necessity outward looking and the ambitious growth plans in Food Harvest 2020 recognise this. Meat and meat products, dairy products and ingredients, prepared foods, beverages, seafood and horticulture generate foreign earnings, create employment both directly and indirectly and have a unique impact on the economy of every county.
The Minister also congratulated the primary suppliers, those participating in Bord Bia quality assurance schemes, and the food and beverage companies engaging with the Origin Green sustainability agenda which he said would “underpin exports in the years ahead”.