Agri-food exports jump 12pc

Caitriona Murphy

Exports from Ireland's agri-food sector grew by a further 12pc last year to €8.8bn, the Department of Agriculture's Annual Review and Outlook 2011/2012 has revealed.

The report shows that last year's exports were a remarkable 25pc ahead of the levels recorded in 2009.

Within the industry, dairy and beverages performed particularly well, with exports rising by 17pc last year.

Some of this growth was in new markets, with dairy exports outside Europe estimated to have reached more than €930m in 2011.

Bord Bia estimated a 17pc rise in dairy exports last year to €2.39bn and an 8pc increase in meat and livestock exports to €2.8bn for 2011.

Value

The strong 2011 performance was helped by stronger global prices for major commodities, a positive supply/demand balance in some categories, a tentative return to price inflation across most major European markets and less volatility in exchange rates.

For example, the value of beef exports rose by 15pc in 2011 to nearly €1.81bn, despite the volume of beef exported falling to an estimated 510,000t.

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In addition, the average price for finished cattle increased by almost 18pc in 2011 compared to 2010, while average prices of weanlings and store bullocks increased by approximately 35pc and 20pc respectively.

Similarly, the value of the milk sector rose by 18.6pc last year, even though milk deliveries only increased by 4.5pc.

The average milk price paid to producers in 2011 was 35c/l, a 13pc increase on the 2010 price of 31c/l.

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