The Irish dairy sector is a huge contributor to growth in economic activity across the rural and regional Irish economy supporting over 60,000 jobs from dairy farming (19,000) to milk processing/distribution, export marketing and research.
- Ireland exports almost 90% of its dairy output to 120 countries across the globe.
- The value of exports has doubled in line with a 50% increase in milk production since EU quotas were removed in 2015, from €2 BN to over €4 BN currently.
- This growth in export values reflects increased global demand for dairy products and in particular increased demand for grass based sustainable dairy production.
- Ireland’s status as the lowest carbon emitting dairy sector in the Northern Hemisphere is recognised across a growing global customer base.
- The additional status of Irish grassland as a huge carbon sink storing up to 30 million tonnes of CO2 annually is currently being assessed under IPCC rules
- Crucially in terms of Irish economy impact, every euro of exports of dairy products represents a 90 cent spend in the Irish economy.
- Moreover, Dairy’s huge Irish economy spend on raw materials, wages and services now accounts for almost 10% of spending by all industry (DJEBI Annual Survey of Expenditure 2017 published February 2019)
Dairy economy growth comes from a combination of a major surge in global demand for dairy products particularly in emerging economies and the ending of supply controls in the EU with the abolition of milk quotas in 2015.
Since 2015 Irish dairy output has increased in value by over 2 BN euro annually and by 60% by volume.
- There are just 19,000 dairy farmers in Ireland (DAFF)
- Producing over 7.5 BN litres of milk annually (CSO 2018)
- Exports in 2018 were valued at €4.2 BN, double the value of pre quota levels.
- The unit value of milk production has increased from an average of 42/45cent /litres in the last years of milk quota to just over 56 cent in 2018.
- Even more significantly Irish economy Expenditure by the dairy sector was €3.8 BN in 2018.
- The Irish dairy sector buys 90% of its inputs and raw materials in the Irish economy.
- The dairy industry accounted for almost 10% of spending by all industry in the Irish economy in 2018.
The impact of dairy expansion has been hugely significant in terms of return on investment (including state support) and even more importantly the huge economy wide impact of dairy expansion across the Irish economy.