Export values for the food and drink industry in the Republic of Ireland exceeded €10.8bn ($11.6bn) overall in 2015, rising by an impressive 51% since 2009, according to Bord Bía.
The food, drink and horticulture industry’s trade, development and promotion body announced the export growth at a press conference on 13 January 2016.
Pork exports fall
Ireland’s meat and livestock industry was worth €3.7bn ($4bn) in 2015, recording an overall growth of 2%. There was good news for exports of beef, poultry and sheep meat, which all recorded strong growth, but shipments of live animals fell by 20% to €195m ($210m).
Beleaguered pork, currently in a crisis in Europe, also saw exports fall by 2% to €570m ($616m).
Beef exports, valued at €2.4bn ($2.59bn) rose by an impressive 6% and helped Ireland’s overall food and drink exports offset the weakening global price of dairy products to record its sixth straight year of growth.
A spokesman for Bord Bia, said: “The value of meat and livestock exports, including offals grew by 2% to almost €3.7 billion which equates to 34% of total food and drink exports."
In a difficult trading environment beef and sheepmeat registered increases of 6% and 5% while a rise in pigmeat volumes could not prevent a drop in value of pigmeat exports of 2%. Poultry exports performed well with an increase of 3%, while a drop in live animal exports was attributable to lack of availability.”
Challenges to growth
Ireland’s meat and livestock sector represents around 34% of the country’s food and drink exports, with 52 countries importing produce from Ireland.
Announcing the export figures on 13 January, Bord Bía’s chief executive Aidan Cotter said: “Irish food exporters registered record growth, increasing exports by some €355m in a period when global food commodity prices declined by approximately 19%, the Russian market was effectively closed to EU food exports and consumer sentiment remained sluggish across the eurozone.
“This year will present further opportunities for growth in most sectors notwithstanding challenges from continued global dairy price pressures through the early months of 2016,” he added.
Bord Bía also told reporters at the news conference that it was planning to open two new offices abroad – one in Singapore and the other in Warsaw, Poland.