Sector profile

Key statistics
• 250,000 jobs linked to the agri-food sector
• €27.5bn turnover in the sector
• Supplies the majority of produce to Ireland’s €15bn domestic grocery and food service sector
• €12.1bn worth of exports in 2018 to over 180 countries
• 53% of all exports by indigenous Irish manufacturers
• Destinations – UK 37%, rest of Europe 34%, third countries 29%
• Total payroll in the sector is €2.1bn – more than any other manufacturing sector
• €11.1bn worth of materials purchased - 71% are sourced in Ireland
• €3.6bn worth of services purchased – 50% are sourced in Ireland
• Ireland is the largest net exporter of dairy ingredients, beef and lamb in Europe
• Ireland is the largest exporter in Europe of powdered infant formula
• Ireland exports over 80% of its dairy and beef production
• Ireland is the UK’s largest supplier of food and drink

Key facts
· The agri-food industry has deeper links to the wider economy than the rest of manufacturing.
· The extensive regional footprint of the food and drink sector, including regions which are economically disadvantaged relative to the EU average, means it is directly linked to the performance of the whole economy and is also at heart of the social fabric of rural Ireland.
· Food and drink manufacturing accounts for half of direct expenditure by the entire manufacturing sector in the Irish economy (payroll, Irish materials and Irish services).
· As a result, the sector has a high employment multiplier, which means it supports employment in other parts of the economy in a way that other sectors don’t. The sector provides the exclusive outlet for much of farmer/SME produce, providing extensive added value and is thus crucially important to farm incomes.
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