Minister welcomes five years of agri-food export growth

The announcement today by Bord Bia of five consecutive years of agri-food export growth was welcomed by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

He said since 2009 food and beverage exports have increased by 45% compared to Irish merchandise exports which are 5% higher.

“Agri-food exports are essentially 10 times what normal merchandise exports outside the agri-food exports have been in the last number five years,” he said.

According to the Minister, nobody can question the importance of the sector for every parish in the country, in terms of having a stake or dividend in the sectors growth.

Challenges

Minister Coveney said this year like every year there are going to be challenges to overcome.

“Last year is was beef prices, closure of the Russian market. The year before it was horsemeat and the fodder crisis,” he said

He said in the year ahead the sector is looking at challenges in terms of price volatility in dairy markets.

“This is a sector that is so big and varied that there always be challenges,” the Minister said.

The future is bright

The Minister was keen to highlight the bright future which he sees for the Agri-Food sector.

“We have never had more young people looking to develop a career in farming and food than we have now.

He said the agricultural colleges are full and he is under pressure to provide more staff, for Teagasc to meet the demand that is there.

“We have never had more courses at our universities around food, food innovation, nutrition and sustainability than we have now.

“We have never had more companies growing out of Ireland than we have now in the food sector, he said.

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