The Irish food and drink industry has reported a year-on-year export growth of 3%, with the most significant growth sectors being prepared foods, dairy products and beef, according to Bord Bia’s recent Food/ Drink/ Horticulture Export Review 04/05.

The value of exports rose to E7.17bn, despite the challenge of currency movements and the appreciation of the Euro, which is likely to continue through 2005.

Commenting on the Review, Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Bord Bia, said: “The past year has been a challenging one for Irish food and drinks companies in export markets. Despite this I am pleased to report that exporters adapted to these challenges and have delivered growth which is not only of benefit to the food, drink and horticulture sector but to the economy as a whole.”

The report indicated that meat and livestock were the largest single sector at E2.19bn with beef up by 8%. Pigmeat exports increased by 6% in 2004 to E265m.

The report also noted that dairy products exported from Ireland experienced a 6% rise to almost E1.86bn, while exports of beverages fell by 10% in comparison.

Cotter also stated that Bord Bia will be implementing a series of initiatives and working closely with Irish food and drink companies next year, which he said would exploit existing markets and to open new markets for Irish food and drink exports.