Graph: Agri-food sector accounted for around 8.4% of total employment in 2014

Figures from the Department of Agriculture’s Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 2014/2015 show that the agri-food sector remains an integral part of the Irish economy.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney announced the publication of the review and outlook and said that 2014 showed the important role that the Irish agri-food sector has played in aiding economic recovery.

He said figures for 2014 show that the sector accounted for around 8.4% of total employment and made a particularly significant contribution to employment in rural areas.

“CSO estimates for aggregate farm income increased by 5.6% to €2.4 billion in 2014 and although it was a difficult year for primary production, CSO data still shows an increase of over 30% in the output value of the agriculture sector since 2010.”

The Minister highlighted the significant role that agri-food and beverage exports play as they continued their remarkable growth in 2014.

“Exports for the sector rose by 4% to a record €10.5 billion 2014 and this now means that the value of food & beverage exports have increased by 45% since 2009. This shows the global demand for quality Irish product and highlights the excellent work of all key stakeholders within the sector,” he said.

However, while the outlook for the sector is optimistic, there are challenges ahead, he said.

He said Ireland is a small open economy and volatility in world commodity prices can have serious adverse consequences in terms of lower prices for our produce or higher prices for our inputs.

“It is vital that all stakeholders within the agriculture sector work together to minimise the impact of these events.” Minister Coveney said.

“This publication provides a reference for all those who are interested in the performance of the agri-food sector” Minister Coveney stated.

“I expect the agri-food sector to play an integral part in the recovery of our economy and the continued viability of our rural and coastal areas.”