Record € 9 billion food and beverage exports in 2012 welcomed by Coveney

9th January, 2013



Agri-food sector contributing to foreign earnings, economic recovery and Food Harvest targets

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney T.D. today welcomed the record food and beverage export results announced by Bord Bia for 2012.   Passing the €9 billion export mark in 2012  is a great achievement by the industry and has been secured despite very 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. 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 Irish agri-food and beverage industry is an industry which is perhaps uniquely global and local, driven by demands in far flung markets and commitment to delivering the very high standards demanded by consumers at home and abroad.

In this connection I congratulate also 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 will underpin exports in the years ahead.   The industry and Bord Bia have put in an enormous effort to build on existing markets and to identify new market opportunities.  Ireland is open for business and is extending its market reach. On the international  front, I am particularly pleased with our growing trade with China and other Asian markets ,  the commitment of companies to growing exports to the United States, particularly in the case of Irish Whiskey and other beverages, the important markets for Irish food and drink products trade in Middle Eastern markets and emerging trade with African countries.

In relation to sectors, performance in 2012 has been impressive across the range of products given cost pressures and easing of some commodity prices. The 17% increase in seafood exports which reached €75 million in 2012 is particularly impressive. Within the European Union the UK market remains our closest market geographically and it is good to see solid export growth there.

The Minister concluded by emphasising that Ireland’s international reputation as a source of natural, high quality food, drink and ingredients depends on the commitment of producers and companies right along the food supply chain and very close co-operation by industry, agencies and government in delivering on a sustainable growth agenda.