Ireland’s dairy industry is set for significant growth after milk quotas are abolished in 2015, according to Kevin Lane, chief executive of the Irish Dairy Board (IDB).
Speaking after IDB won Ireland’s overall Exporter of the Year Award for its brand Kerrygold, Mr Lane said: "The ending of milk quotas in 2015 offers exciting opportunities for Ireland’s dairy sector to put its undoubted commercial strengths and advantages against those of its international competitors.”
In order to achieve export success and to ensure Ireland’s economic recovery, the nation’s export businesses must build upon their areas of competitive advantage and, above all, invest further in research and development and to innovate, he said.
Lane told DairyReporter.com: “Ireland holds a competitive advantage over some of its global competitors.” But that advantage will be based on what price dairy farmers receive in a volatile global market, he added.
Agri food sector
IDB exports more than €780m worth of products to 90 countries last year. The single largest exporter of Irish dairy products, IDB accounts for 60 per cent of all Irish dairy exports.
The agri food sector represents half of the country’s indigenously generated exports and accounted for €7bn worth of export business last year.
IDB won the award for the export achievments of its iconic brand Kerrygold, and its cheeses and milk powders. Kerrygold is the leading butter brand in Germany and IDB’s cheese brand held the number two position in the UK last year.
"Despite today’s economic challenges, Irish food exports grew 8 per cent in the first five months of 2010 to almost €3bn, and the outlook for the remainder of the year is even more positive,” said Mr Lane. “The industry, typified by the IDB’s Kerrygold brand which is now marketed to over 50 countries, is entering a fantastic new period of growth and opportunity. The IDB is committed to building on Ireland’s green image and the environmental sustainability of our natural dairy production system."
Commenting on the award, Mr Lane said: "This award is in recognition of the excellent work being carried out by our 3,000 plus employees around the world and we are deeply appreciative of this honour.
Iconic Kerrygold brand
The award reflects the performance not only of the iconic Kerrygold brand on export markets, but also the extensive range of cheese and milk powders exported by the group, he added.
In addition to the Export Industry’s premier award - Exporter of the Year 2010, IDB also won the Food and Drink Exporter Award. Both accolades were presented at the Irish Exporters Association Awards dinner at the RDS Concert Hall in Dublin.
Mark Fitzgerald, IEA president told the awards audience said that Irish exporters, like IDB, are bucking the trend of retrenchment during the continuing recession. “They are proving that with the right strategy and vision growth can still be achieved,” said Fitzgerald.
IEA launched its export awards last August.