“Irish food and drink producers are leading the way on this country’s export success” according to Martin Heydon, Fine Gael TD for Kildare South and Chair of Fine Gael’s Internal Committee on Agriculture & Rural Affairs. Deputy Heydon was speaking after Bord Bia revealed that Irish food and drink exports reached an all-time high of €10.5 billion in 2014.

“According to Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects Report, 2014 was the fifth consecutive year of growth for Irish food and drink exports, reaching an all-time high of €10.5 billion. This represents growth of 45% since 2009. Irish food and drink producers are leading the way on this country’s export success.

“Last year the dairy sector showed the strongest growth exceeding €3 billion, representing an increase of 3%; prepared foods were worth €1.8 billion last year, up 8%; while the seafood sector was worth €540 million, an increase of 8%.

“A huge part of this export success stems from our expansion of food and drink exports into Asia. With this in mind we know that the coming few years can be equally successful as we target more Asian markets. The recent trade mission to China led by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney brought about huge opportunities for Irish farmers in the near future. Moves are afoot to open up the beef and sheep meat market in China to Irish farmers. We currently export about €40 million of cattle hides into China and we now want to be the first European country selling beef to China. As of early January we are also the first EU country to export beef to the US since the ban for BSE reasons in 1999.

“Irish farmers as well as food and drink producers can look forward to another year of export success in 2015.”