Irish cattle

The UK remained Ireland’s key export market, with irish beef exports up 5%, latest figures reveal

The value of Irish food and drink exports hit a record high of €12.6bn last year - a rise of 13%, figures from Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, have revealed. The increase was driven by a surge in dairy exports to over €4bn (up 19%), the Export Performance and Prospects 2017-2018 report found.

Continued buoyant sales of Irish beef (up 5%) and notable growth in prepared foods (up 17% to €2.2bn) and beverages (up 8% to €1.5bn) also played a part.

The report showed that the UK remained Ireland’s key export market, accounting for 35% of total exports, with sales increasing for the year by 7% to over €4.5bn.

Elsewhere, exports to international (non-European) markets reached €4bn for the first time.

“Within the dairy sector, the value of Ireland’s butter exports rose by a remarkable 60% this year alone, to reach €879m,” said Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.

“This growth accounted for over half of the total increase in dairy exports. Notwithstanding its impact on the overall export figures, it is worth noting that increased export volumes recorded for both beef and dairy also played a pivotal role in this year’s export performance. Pigmeat and sheepmeat also recorded increased volumes, at 3% and 14% respectively.”

Agriculture minister Michael Creed added: “Trade with the UK, which remains our most valuable market, has grown in overall terms, despite the difficulty presented by Brexit and a weaker sterling.”