Beef sector main driver in half year export figures of €370m
IRISH food and drink exports have soared by nearly 9pc this year.
New figures from Bord Bia show that exports increased by €370m or 8.6pc in the first six months of the year compared to the same period of 2012.
The beef sector showed particularly strong growth soaring by 15pc or €140m.
Exports of prepared foods grew by 15pc while dairy and beverages each rose by 4pc and pigmeat exports grew by 9pc.
Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter said the export figures were particularly impressive given overall exports were down 6pc.
"Last year Ireland's food and drink exports surpassed the €9bn mark for the first time and the prospects for the remainder of 2013 remain broadly positive with a strong demand for dairy and beef," he said.
Prime Irish cattle were currently fetching higher prices than the EU average, with strong demand for meat from the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme.
"This has been driven largely by strong demand from the UK, Ireland's largest beef market, during a period strongly marked by the contamination of processed beef products and issues of consumer trust" Mr Cotter said.
Sales of burgers and processed beef products had recovered strongly in Britain after a massive slump caused by the horsemeat crisis.
Dairy exports were also doing well thanks to high global prices which had offset lower milk production in Ireland due to poor grazing in the Spring.
Overall Ireland exports some €4.7bn worth of food and drink in the first half of the year, compared to €4.3bn in the same period of 2012.