THE AGRIFOOD POWERHOUSE: FACTS AND FIGURES - The total gross turnover of the food and drinks processing sector was £2.3bn in 1997, a drop from £2.4bn in 1996. The decline was due to a decrease in the value of dairy, beef and sheepmeat sales. - In 1997 this sector accounted for 25% of total manufacturing sales. - Value added in the food and processing sector amounted to £388m in 1997 with drinks, poultry and dairy products representing more than half. - Between 1996 and 1997 the number of people employed by the food and drinks processing industry dropped by 550 to 19,749. - In 1997 the 10 largest food and drinks processing companies in Northern Ireland represented 34% of total gross turnover, 39% of value added and 36% of total employment. - Export sales of food and drink totalled £336m in 1997, £131m less than in 1996. - The food and drinks processing sector represented 11% of total manufacturing export sales in 1997, 5 percentage points lower than in 1996. - The Republic of Ireland is the largest export market for this sector with sales in 1997 of £179m, £7m lower than in 1996. {{Z SUPPLEMENTS }}