For 2011 exports as a whole are expected to rise by around five per cent as stronger shipments to Continental EU and
international markets drive trade.
Food and drink exports are expected to reach a new all-time high of €8.9 billion this year, an increase of more than 12 per cent, or almost €1 billion, on 2010 levels. This follows growth of €700 million in 2010 leaving Ireland’s food exports in 2011 some 25 per cent ahead of 2009 levels. Meanwhile, against a backdrop of strong global demand and high prices, eight out of 10 exporters surveyed by Bord Bia rate their prospects as improved or very improved compared with this time last year. The forecast and survey findings were issued by Bord Bia on the opening day of the 80th National Ploughing Championships taking place in Athy, Co Kildare.
All major categories are expected to show growth this year: increased volumes of dairy products, pigmeat, whiskey, cider, confectionery, sauces/soups and mushrooms are also boosting revenues. It is estimated volume growth across these categories will account for up to 30 per cent of the total.
Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia, commented, “The context for the achievement of the ambitious Food Harvest 2020 targets, including 50 per cent export growth, has rarely looked more favourable”.
The UK remains the principal export destination, although its share of total exports fell from 44 per cent to just over 40 per cent compared to the same period last year. This reflects the fact that much of the growth in dairy and to a lesser extent prepared foods, beverages and beef has occurred outside of the UK market.
The proportion of exports going to other European markets jumped by two percentage points to 35 per cent for the period.
The industry survey was conducted during Bord Bia’s inaugural training day for companies in preparation for Marketplace International 2012. On February 7th, 2012 Bord Bia will host 380 pre-screened international and domestic buyers, in the Convention Centre, Dublin, to meet with over 150 Irish food and drink manufacturers. Bord Bia is aiming to secure €15 million in new business from the one day event.