Irish report positive performance for exports

Bord Bía, the Irish food board, has announced that exports in 2014 rose by 4% to reach a record high of €10.5 billion.

The organisation’s Export Performance and Prospects Report, which revealed the statistics, also showed that 2014 was Ireland’s fifth consecutive year of export growth for the food and drink industry. The 4% growth in exports represented an expansion of 45% or €3.2bn since 2009.

Within food and drink, poultry showed the most remarkable export growth at 20% to €310m, helped by stronger processed poultry exports. Pigmeat exports grew 3%, while sheepmeat and beef saw slight increases of 1%.

Bord Bía chief executive Aidan Cotter said there had been a shift in the destinations for Irish exports: “The industry’s drive to broaden export reach to destinations outside the EU is paying dividends, with growth in emerging and international markets now driving export figures, offsetting the limited growth in our established premium EU markets.”

Growth in the value of exports was particularly high to Asia, with a 45% increase to €850m and 40% growth to China; North America, the Middle East and Africa saw 18%, 11% and 9% increases respectively.

The UK remains Ireland’s most significant export market, but its share of exports eased slightly. The value of exports to other EU destinations grew slightly by 2% to reach €3.3bn, representing 31% of total exports. Bord Bía said this reflected largely static consumer price inflation across the Eurozone.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD welcomed the results: “Our strategy for exports is clear and our pursuit of the targets set out in Food Harvest 2020 is relentless. The speed and determination the industry displayed in shifting focus to new and emerging markets in response to static price inflation in EU markets, and the severe restrictions in the Russian market, have been remarkable”.

Bord Bía said the prospects for the meat and livestock sector in 2015 were mixed, with lower finished cattle availability expected to help the beef trade, while the prospects for sheep remained positive. However, it added, the pigmeat sector seemed set to remain challenging, given the absence of the Russian market for exporters and a well-supplied global market.

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