Expansion of the Irish dairy herd post quota removal in 2015 is set to offer huge opportunities both on and off farms.

Three mega trends are presenting an unprecedented era of opportunity for the dairy industry, in which Ireland is well positioned for success, according to Zoë Kavanagh, Chief Executive of the National Dairy Council.

She was speaking at the NDC 50th Anniversary Annual Conference in the RDS which took place during National Dairy Week.

“Economists estimate that expansion which will follow the abolishment of milk quotas in 2015 could be worth €1.3 billion per year to our economy, with the potential to create 15,000 additional jobs, from farm gate to dairy processors and spread throughout the counties, said Ms. Kavanagh. She said that the capability to make a significant, pivotal contribution to our economic recovery and growth is based on three mega trends:

  • Growth in the economies of emerging markets such as Africa, Asia and South America fuelling demand for high value food products against finite food sources
  • Research and innovation which provides new applications for dairy, for example in sports nutrition and healthy ageing, supported by technologies which enable valuable fractions of milk to be isolated – such as protein.
  • Consumer demands for both quality and sustainability in the products they purchase.

Ms. Kavanagh said that the Irish dairy sector has been resilient and innovative throughout times of recession and milk quota restrictions and has the capability to act adroitly, making the most productive use of our pasture-based, natural resources in a sustainable manner.

The Conference was officially opened by Tom Hayes T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food & The Marine. “For the first time ever, Irish dairy exports exceeded €3 billion in value in 2013. Research , innovation and new product development are a key part of this growth dynamic. Using science and innovation to add value to a fresh traditional Irish dairy products is a core vision in Food Harvest 2020. This is a critical building block for dairy growth and I am pleased to see it feature as a central theme in today’s conference,” said Minister Hayes.