Food exporters targeting growth in non-UK markets

Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy at the launch of the Bord Bia Brexit Barometer report.
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy at the launch of the Bord Bia Brexit Barometer report.
Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Three out of four Irish food and drinks companies have increased sales to non-UK markets, while 85pc are looking to expand beyond Britain and Ireland, according to a Bord Bia survey.

The latest findings of Bord Bia's Brexit Barometer come as negotiations between the EU and UK enter a crucial phase in Brussels this week.

Concern over the possible fallout from a 'no deal Brexit' was reflected last week in the Department of Agriculture's spending estimates for 2019, with a €78m suite of measures earmarked to counter such an eventuality.

One of the main winners from this extra spending was Bord Bia, with the food marketing agency's budget increasing by €5m to €46.6m for 2019.

This represents a 60pc lift in overall funding since 2014.

Welcoming the additional monies, Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy admitted that Brexit posed a real test for the Irish food and drinks sector.

"The continued sustainable growth of Ireland`s agri-food industry depends on its success in securing and maintaining a premium position in the best markets for Irish food and drink around the world," Ms McCarthy said.

"The significant change that will result from the decision of the UK, our biggest export destination, to leave the EU places a considerable challenge on this growth path," she pointed out.

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"These additional resources will support Bord Bia`s newly developed strategy for growing the impact of our client companies in priority markets through market and consumer insight and building business relationships with food buyers, supported by increased expertise on the ground," the Bord Bia CEO explained.

The full €78m in the Brexit Resilience Package includes €44m in direct payments to farmers.

This comprises an additional €23m in ANC payments, €20m for the new Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) scheme, and €1m for the horticulture industry.

Minister Creed has also provided €27m in Brexit-related supports for the food industry. This included the additional €5m to Bord Bia, as well as:

* €13m in supports for food industry competitiveness and innovation;

* €3m for artisan and micro food and beverage programmes;

* €6m to develop a Food Innovation Hub in Teagasc, Moorepark.

Meanwhile, a further €7m was provided for staff and IT costs arising from additional import control and export certification requirements arising as a result of Brexit.

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