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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Dairy and beef sectors future in Ireland

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the future of the dairy and beef sectors in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Our beef and suckler farm families produce a world-class product that is in demand in markets across the globe.  

Beef exports totalled €2.4 billion in 2021, a 3.1% increase on 2020 figures.

Teagasc forecasts that EU beef supply will decline in 2022 and that UK supply will remain unchanged. The outlook for Irish beef exports remains generally positive for 2022 according to Bord Bia.

The Irish dairy industry is one of our largest and most profitable industries. Irish dairy exports exceeded the €5 billion mark for the third year in 2021. Strong market returns across the core categories of butter, cheese, and powders, coupled with diversification efforts into new markets have led to a sustained increase in value.

Last year, we exported over 1.6 million tonnes of dairy products to approximately 147 different countries. Ireland is currently the 10th largest dairy exporter in the world, shipping over 85% of our dairy products to the EU and beyond.

The outlook for Irish dairy remains positive as buyers seek to secure product amid weaker European and Oceania milk output, a factor which has assisted in sustaining high dairy prices.

I am, however, acutely aware of the potential pressures being faced by many sectors across the agriculture industry due to the increase in input costs.

I have taken a proactive approach in responding to the impact of illegal war in Ukraine on the agri-food sector, through the various measures I have announced since this crisis started, to support our farm families and their businesses and I will continue to do so.

I am confident that working together we can position Ireland as a world leader in sustainable food systems, meeting our climate targets, and ensuring that the market delivers a reward for our quality, sustainably produced food, particularly for our farmers, and their families who are the bedrock of the sector.

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