The value of Irish food and drink exports approached €10 billion for the first time ever in 2013, according to new figures released by semi-state company Bord Bia today.
The positive figures represent an increase of 9% on exports in 2012 and 40% in the last four years. This means that revenues for the industry are almost €3 billion higher than they were in 2009.
Dairy products and ingredients performed well passing the €3 billion mark for the first time last year. However, the importance of meat and livestock in Irish exports was underlined by the Bord Bia figures as it accounted for one third of the revenue, €3.3 billion.
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The UK is the biggest importer of Irish food and drink, with 42% of exports worth an estimated €4.1 billion going there last year. Exports of food and drink to other EU markets increased by 11% to reach €3.2 billion. Exports to Asia and to a lesser extent Russia, contributed positively toward an increase of 6% in the value of trade to international markets, which exceeded €2.6 billion in 2013.
A further rise in output for the year ahead is expected across key sectors by Bord Bia and ongoing strong demand is anticipated in emerging economies.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney (pictured, right, alongside Bord Bia chief Aidan Cotter), said that the 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," said Coveney.
It has been a good year by anyone's standards for the Coveney brothers. The Minister's brother, Patrick, is CEO of Irish food company Greencore whose share price more than doubled from 104.75p (£) in 2012 to its current 229.8p.
At the beginning of December, Greencore boss Patrick Coveney bagged close to €2.2m as an executive bonus scheme paid out. Greencore's share price has rocketed since Coveney switched its listing to FTSE two years ago, and continued the transformation of the former Irish state sugar company into a global sandwich and ready meal giant.
© 2013 - Hospitality Ireland Magazine by Kevin Kelly