Over the next decade and beyond, even higher standards of agri-food sustainability will be demanded in the marketplace, the director of Meat Industry Ireland (MII) Dale Crammond has said.
Speaking following the publication of the Department of Agriculture’s annual review and outlook for 2023, he said that the report comes at a time of growing global food demand and increased competition in high-value markets.
“By 2050, the global population is expected to reach nine billion and 70% more food will be required. Coupled with this, over the next decade and beyond, even higher standards of agri-food sustainability will be demanded in the marketplace.
“The meat processing sector in Ireland remains committed to fostering sustainable practices, innovation and quality standards to ensure continued growth and prosperity for the meat sector and the wider agri-food industry,” he said.
Crammond said that the report highlights the “robust performance” of the agri-food sector in Ireland, with the meat sector contributing significantly to record exports of €19bn in 2022.
“Beef sector exports increased by €620m to a total of €3.05bn in 2022, representing a 25% increase. Sheepmeat exports increased by €69m in 2022, from €386m to €455m, while pigmeat exports increased in value by €19.8m to €956m.
"The agri-food sector sustains 164,900 jobs, comprising 6.5% of total employment and these figures showcase the pivotal role the meat sector plays in the national economy,” he said.
He said the increase in exports was “testament to the hard work and dedication of the wider industry, including our farmer suppliers. This has also been achieved on the back of falling greenhouse gas emissions and it’s important to state this,” he added.