Monday 23 October 2017

Food sector can no longer be relied on to drive exports

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

HIGHER volatility in commodity prices means the country cannot rely on the food sector to drive exports as it has over the past two years, according to the trade group Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), a division of IBEC.

The FDII's report on policy recommendations for the food-and-drink sector this year highlights what it calls the "increasingly volatile nature of food commodity pricing, which, even if on a long-term upward trend, shows that it cannot be relied on to be the main driver of export performance".

Despite that, the report was broadly positive on the future of the industry but warned action must be taken by the State to boost domestic demand.

"The domestic market remains difficult, lacking consumer confidence with continuous downward pressure on margins as a result of increased input costs, pricing pressures and increased cost of sales," the report said.

"Specific food-related initiatives are also needed," it added.

FDII also called for further reductions in the cost of doing business here, specifically in energy and waste disposal.

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