Food and drinks exports have been resilient in pandemic yr of 2020

Bord Bia has welcomed food and drinks exports for 2020 valued at €13bn, falling by solely €0.2bn from 2019, regardless of a yr of unprecedented problem and the most important disruption to regular market operation, globally, for the reason that finish of World Struggle II.

Will increase have been recorded within the worth of Irish dairy, pigmeat and sheepmeat exports, together with very important will increase within the worth of exports to Africa and the Center East, as new markets come to the fore.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue stated: “Eire’s food and drinks producers confronted many challenges on the home and worldwide entrance final yr.

“Regardless of this, they discovered a brand new degree of resilience that noticed them maintain international exports at €13bn. The marginal dip of two% is in stark distinction to the towering pandemic challenges they confronted, together with the closure of foodservice, will increase in transport prices, and dramatic shopper behaviour modifications as folks migrated to working from dwelling.

“I pay specific tribute to our farmers, in addition to our food and drinks producers, for his or her heroic efforts in supporting a balanced financial system, regardless of coping with a once-in-a-lifetime international pandemic”.

Bord Bia Chief Govt Tara McCarthy, stated: “Behind the outstanding export efficiency of our food and drinks sector in 2020 are seismic challenges at a strategic, class and channel degree.”

Exports of food and drinks from Eire have elevated persistently, by 16% in worth since 2016, and by 67% since 2010.

Dairy continued its progress in 2020, with a 3% uplift in worth of exports, to €5.2bn, a document degree, exceeding €5bn for a second yr.

The second largest class in Irish food and drinks exports, the meat and livestock sector, additionally delivered a resilient efficiency in 2020, with a 2% improve in whole worth to €3.4bn.

A difficult yr for beef exports was offset by robust progress within the worth of pigmeat and sheep exports.

And it was a nice shock for farmers to study that their favoured reside export commerce elevated in worth by 10% in 2020, to be price €221m — regardless of a decline within the variety of animals exported, by 30,000.

Nonetheless, it was principally a decline within the proportion of calves, the bottom worth component within the reside export combine. Exports of extra invaluable retailer, weanling and completed cattle elevated strongly throughout 2020, primarily on account of a rise in commerce with Northern Eire.

The drystock farming sector additionally reaped the advantage of sheepmeat export values growing 12%, to €356m in 2020. Tighter provides of sheepmeat globally and an enchancment in demand in key EU markets drove this improve.

Main pigmeat exports have been price €586m in 2020, a 14% improve on 2019, on the again of a 3% improve within the quantity of exports. 

Alcohol exports general have been down 19% in 2020 to €1.3bn.

Final yr noticed a decline within the worth of major Irish seafood exports of 10%, to €443m, as a result of disruption of exports within the shellfish class usually destined for the foodservice channel, locked down for a lot of 2020.

Horticulture and cereals exports elevated by 8% to €221m in 2020, with the UK being the core market.

The first constituents of this export combine are mushrooms, major cereals and amenity horticulture. The worth of mushroom exports rose by 14% to €115m.

Ready shopper meals exports in 2020 have been price €2.5bn, representing a 4% discount year-on-year, on account of disruption introduced on by the pandemic.

The most important a part of this class, and the supply of the most important decline, is value-added meats provided virtually totally to the foodservice channel. These exports have been price €648m in 2020, a 14% decline on 2019.

Poultry exports declined by 2% in worth in 2020, to €152m, however quantity elevated by 4%.

Outlook for 2021

In keeping with Bord Bia, the worldwide provide and demand dynamic for Irish food and drinks merchandise stays constructive in 2021. “The probably finish of the pandemic will allow a return to progress. Dairy demand progress will proceed to outpace provide. The worldwide meat provide steadiness will proceed to favour producers, significantly in Asia”.

The meals board stated customers and prospects more and more count on credentials round sustainability and welfare, that Eire is effectively positioned to produce, and to distinguish from competitor exporting nations.

However commerce disruption and elevated obstacles to commerce might stymie potential progress. “The long run buying and selling relationship with the UK is unsure. That is additional sophisticated by the extent to which the UK acts as a bridge for logistics to the EU-27. “Disruption on this space is more likely to be a short lived phenomenon nevertheless, not lasting past quarter one in every of 2021.”

Bord Bia Chief Govt Tara McCarthy, stated, “As we begin 2021, exporters are reporting strong order volumes, which is a direct results of the power of buying and selling relationships nurtured over a few years.

“That stated, the additional prices and complexities of commerce with our largest vacation spot market, as new customs procedures interrupt the graceful stream of produce, will trigger important challenges and shouldn’t be underestimated.

“With a return to international financial progress forecast for 2021, we anticipate continued robust international demand for Irish dairy.

“We count on the worldwide meat provide steadiness to favour producers, significantly in Asia, which has been on the centre of a lot Irish export progress.

“All all over the world, customers and prospects are more and more demanding credentials round sustainability that Eire is effectively positioned to satisfy.”

Bord Bia expects the UK will stay the most important single vacation spot for Irish food and drinks exports in 2021 and past.

The meals board stated exporters are smart to take a position assets in diversification past this one market, however its geographical proximity, shared language, and shared cultural understanding, together with the UK’s must import meals, and the UK shopper’s appreciation of the sustainability credentials of Irish food and drinks, make sure that the UK will stay a key strategic associate for Irish food and drinks exports.

Nonetheless, the Commerce and Co-operation Settlement between the EU and UK will cut back Irish and different European fishing vessels’ entry to UK waters.

Over a 5 yr interval to June, 2026, the quota out there in these waters will cut back 25%.

This may probably have notable results for the Irish fleet on pelagic and prawn catches, a major proportion of that are at present taken from UK waters, in accordance with Bord Bia. 

The meals board stated ratification in its present type of the EU-Mercosur commerce settlement can be tough, resulting in important will increase within the stream of beef from South America to the EU.

On local weather change challenges for the Irish food and drinks sector, Bord Bia warned the value and availability of enter commodities will turn into extra disrupted, and there can be growing shopper expectation of licensed processes to minimise greenhouse fuel emissions.

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