International markets key to Irish agriculture in post-Brexit era – Cotter

To achieve the targets set out under Food Wise 2025 in a post-Brexit era, Irish exporters will need to focus on international markets, Bord Bia’s Aidan Cotter has said.

Cotter, the CEO of Bord Bia, said that Irish agri-food exports are expected to increase from €11 billion to €19 billion by 2025 under the Food Wise policy plan.

“The growth that we need in the future will have to come from international markets outside of the European Union,” he said.

He added that Brexit, and particularly the falling value of Sterling, triggered a new era of turbulence and uncertainty for the Irish agri-food industry.

The value of Sterling against the euro, he said, has weakened considerably over the past year – falling by 15% on this time last year.

Speaking at the Carrigaline Macra na Feirme Irish Agriculture – At a Crosswords conference, the Bord Bia Head said that Asia and particularly China could be key markets for Irish agri-food products in the coming years.

China is Ireland’s fifth largest market overall, it is our second largest market for dairy, our second largest market for pork.

“It is a growing market for seafood and the potential exists for it to play a significant role for our beef industry in the period ahead,” he said.

Cotter also said that the world’s population is expanding by over 80m people each year and the global population will exceed 11 billion by the end of this century.

More and more people will be living in cities and the middle classes will expand. That’s 150 billion moving into the middle classes and these are the people with buying power.

“They are changing their lifestyles and are switching their diets to more protein based foods, virtually all of this population growth will happen in Asia,” he said.