According to the CSO, Ireland exported almost €3.9 billion worth of meat with a volume of over 1 million tonnes, to approx. 70 countries in 2018. In 2018, Ireland exported dairy products to approximately 140 countries totalling over €4.5 billion worth of produce, an increase of over 5% by volume compared to 2017.
Opening new markets and expanding existing ones is a key part of my Department's response to the challenges and uncertainty posed by Brexit, and is in line with the market development theme of the Food Wise 2025 strategy.
My Department's market access web portal, launched earlier this year, provides a wide range of information to exporters in relation to markets and requirements. The inaugural market access report, launched on 4 March 2019, provides an overview of the substantial progress made in terms of market access to third countries for Irish food producers.
Bord Bia have undertaken a major data driven exercise to identify priority markets across the food and drink categories, which can be targeted. This exercise is providing an invaluable tool for Irish exporters and for the department and its agencies in determining the strategic priorities for agri-food trade. In relation to meat, five countries have been selected for detailed study - Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Mexico & Malaysia - and for dairy, the following countries have been identified - Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia & Vietnam
The role of my Department is to open up markets for the industry and it is then up to the industry, with the support of my Department and Bord Bia, to avail of these opportunities.
The long-term fundamentals of global meat and dairy markets are strong, with growing global demand projected from fast developing countries with increasing middle classes and more westernised diets. There is confidence that the Irish food industry is well placed to gain from the opportunity presented by this expanding global demand, underpinned by the success of our efforts and those of the Irish food industry.