THE €2 billion turnover Irish Dairy Board (IDB) predicted yesterday shows there is light ahead for the dairy industry.
It follows a difficult year with low commodity prices, currency difficulties, particularly in the Sterling area, global economic turmoil and a generally weaker demand for dairy products.
IDB chairman Michael Cronin told the chairmen of the country’s dairy co-ops and manufacturing centres at a briefing in Dublin that agri-food remains Ireland’s most important indigenous industry in terms of economic activity and impact.
He outlined the IDB’s position as an energetic 24/7 indigenous commercial co-op with a global reach and ownership of Ireland’s only internationally recognised food brand, Kerrygold.
Mr Cronin said the IDB has, throughout the 47 years of its existence, successfully extended the range and volume of its exports worldwide. Operating in many culturally diverse and difficult markets, it has wisely invested in subsidiary services such as packaging and distribution to support its core business, the export of Irish dairy products.
He said food supply, and security of that supply, has become a major focus of governments around the world. As the planet’s populations increase so the demand for food will grow. “The Irish dairy industry can respond to that demand but requires greater cohesion of effort, product innovation and commitment to a strong marketing structure to deliver the maximum return to its stakeholders.”
Mr Cronin said Ireland’s peripheral geographic positioning, and seasonal production profile, offers unique opportunities. However, it equally involves challenges in getting products to market. With 80% of all dairy production exported, an effective market support system is required.
Mr Cronin said in the current milk price environment, the IDB’s overseas subsidiaries continue to deliver.
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