The value of Irish food and drink exports approached €10 billion for the first time in 2013, according to new figures released by Bord Bia this week.
This represents an increase of 9% on the previous year and 40% in the last four years with revenues almost €3 billion higher than in 2009. Export values for dairy products and ingredients exceeded €3 billion for the first time and strong performances for meat and livestock (€3.3 billion) and prepared foods (€1.65 billion) all contributed to the positive outcome.
Simon Coveney, Teachta Dála and minister for agriculture, food and the marine, said: "Significant growth in 2013 has brought export values in the Irish food and drink sector to record levels. This leading performance in what was a challenging year for the industry highlights the key role of agri-food, Ireland's largest indigenous sector, in underpinning exports and economic activity."
Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, said: "Among the highlights of 2013 have been the double digit growth in dairy and beef export values, the strong recovery in sales to Eurozone destinations, and the exceptional performance of the industry in China, now Ireland's second-largest dairy and third-largest pork market. The industry is well positioned to exploit the relentless growth in the global demand for food, underpinned by its grass-based production systems and its ability to build its presence on both new and established markets".
In February, Bord Bia will participate at Gulfood, the world's biggest annual food and hospitality show, which takes place in Dubai. The Ireland stand, which will include dairy, meat and consumer food companies, will be a significant representation of the Irish industry following its recent trade mission to the Middle East and the opening of Bord Bia's newest office in Dubai. Gulfood is expected to attract more than 77,000 food buyers from around the world.