Food and drink exports top €9bn
The value of Irish food and drink exports surpassed €9 billion for the first time last year according to new figures released today by Bord Bia.
The strongest performing categories were meat and livestock (€3 billion), seafood (€493 million) and drinks(€1.26 billion).
The prospects for food and drink exports in 2013 remain positive, with increased output in some key sectors, most notably beef, combined with more stable global commodity prices expected.
However, feed and other input cost developments in the livestock sector will again play a key role in determining farm level performance, following a difficult year for farming due to poor weather conditions and rising costs.
The results of the annual Bord Bia industry survey, completed in December 2012, also show continued confidence among food and drink manufacturers and a strong positive outlook for the year ahead. In total, 77 per cent of exporters reported increased sales over the past 12 months, while 75 per cent expect export sales to increase again in 2013.
Commenting on the figures, Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia said the Irish food industry had delivered another robust export performance despite the continued weakness in consumer spending in established markets.
"The continued diversification into new and emerging markets, benefitting further from favourable exchange rates, should be welcomed with exports to Asia up by 75 per cent since 2010,? he said.
Among Bord Bia?s key initiatives this year will be the continued development, global promotion and marketing of its sustainability development programme Origin Green.
Since launching in June 2012, some 164 companies accounting for almost 60 per cent of Irish food and drink exports have signed up to the programme. These companies are currently working with Bord Bia to develop, and commit to, sustainability plans setting out clear targets in key areas such as emissions, energy, waste, water, biodiversity and corporate social responsibility activities.
Individual sustainability commitments submitted by major players within the Irish food industry include a 20 per cent reduction in energy use by 2015; the implementation of rainwater harvesting by 2014 and a 30 per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.