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Value down but volume up for Irish agri-food exports

 

Bord Bia has released Irish food, drink and horticulture export figures for 2018, with value for the year at €12.1 billion, down 4 per cent from a record high in 2017.

Launching Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects 2018/2019 report, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Michael Creed, said that last year marked the highest ever volume of Irish exports (+2 per cent), representing the ninth consecutive year of volume growth.

According to Bord Bia’s new report, Ireland’s largest export categories, meat and dairy, which account for two thirds (66 per cent) of total exports, remained stable. Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy noted that total export volume increased significantly across many categories this year, although this was counteracted by global price volatility. While Irish producers exported more in volume terms (+50,000 tonnes), the Euro value recorded for those exports declined.

Tara noted: “Last year was an extraordinary year of instability, however the Irish food and drink exporters continued to grow business through the uncertain environment. To exceed export values of €12 billion for a second year running, and reach new record levels in terms of volume, is hugely impressive. It demonstrates the buoyancy, commitment and ambition of the Irish agri-food sector, which is well positioned to exploit the relentless growth in the global demand for food.”

Speaking to Irish Farmers Monthly at the launch, Minister Creed said: “The market is always going to be challenging but what the industry has evidenced in terms of 2018 is its resilience. I think the future for the industry is on solid foundations. The big issue on the horizon is Brexit. That’s a challenge that we have prepared well for, both inside and outside the farm gate. Bord Bia has been working with the industry, we have been targeting supports within the farm gate. We want the closest possible trading relationship. The ball is firmly in the UK’s court in terms of the withdrawl agreement. In terms of where we want it to be in the Brexit debate, we have achieved everything that we set out for; unfortunately, the UK is not where we would like it to be at this moment in time. Even if they crash out there is going to be, sooner rather than later, talks around what a future trading relationship is going to be. I still believe that it’s unlikely that the UK will leave without a deal."