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Solid Export Achievements by Food Companies in 2010 - Says Smith

An 8% increase in the value of food and drink exports in the first five months of 2010 and accelerated growth since demonstrates why the food sector is Ireland's leading indigenous manufacturing industry and generator of net export earnings, said Brendan Smith TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. This solid performance follows huge efforts by companies and producers to improve competitiveness and to identify market opportunities in a very challenging international trading environment. "What is perhaps most impressive", said the Minister, "is the level of achievement across sectors and markets by companies large and small". Exports of  prepared consumer foods to the UK have recovered, the strategy of targeting premium markets for quality assured meat is working, companies continue to build business in markets for dairy products and ingredients and beverage exports respond to increased demand internationally for premium drinks. Currency pressures also eased during the year.

This performance is a positive step to achieving the ambitious targets in the industry focused Food Harvest 2020 report, which sets out a strategic vision for agri-food, fisheries and forestry framed by smart, green approaches to achieving growth targets: 

  • Increasing the value of primary output by €1.5bn;
  • Increasing value-added in the sector by €3bn; 
  • Achieving €12 billion in exports for the sector, that is 42% above the 2007-2009 average; and
  • Increasing milk production by 50% and adding 20% to the value of the beef sector.

As over 80% of Irish agri-food production is exported, it is encouraging to know that global demand for food is expected to grow as the world population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2025, diets are changing in economies recording significant growth and there is strong demand in mature economies for premium and functional foods that offer value for money and health properties. Our high quality standards and sustainable production, over a decade of investment in food research and above all the commitment of so many food and drink companies and entrepreneurs to satisfying their customers' expectations position the agri-food sector for growth in the next decade.

Date Released: 30 December 2010