Ireland to raise dairy production by 50%

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Coveney: Europe must become a net exporter of food
Coveney: Europe must become a net exporter of food

Related tags International trade

Ireland is preparing to increase its dairy production by 50% after the EU abolishes milk quotas in 2015.

The majority of the increased product will be exported to emerging markets.

Minister for Agriculture, Foods and the Marine, Simon Coveney said: “The plan is to grow dairy production in a five-year period by 50%. The growth potential is there but how do we do it in a way that’s sustainable and pay farmers to ensure they are protected? We do that through education and innovation and, most importantly, by measuring progress step by step.”

Coveney was speaking at the Irish food board’s recent event ‘Sustainability in action’ in Dublin, which showcased Ireland as an exporter of sustainable food.

Invested heavily in capital

Ireland has a lot of pent up output potential for dairy. Farmers are building their capacity and processors and the Irish Dairy Board have invested heavily in capital and market development.

Mark Faherty, economist at the Irish Dairy Board, said: “Global demand growth for dairy looks likely to outstrip what can be supplied from the main milk​producing regions.

“Although 50% may sound like a scary number, the reality is that the actual volume involved is small in a global context – about 2.5bn litres – and it is a global market that we seek to serve. The internationally traded volume of milk is forecast to grow by more than 23bn litres over the same period – almost 9bn of which is expected to come from Europe.”

Coveney said: “It’s not just about milk, sugar quotas are also being removed after 2017. Market intervention tools are now being removed – or only used in the case of market collapse – so that Europe can be a net food exporter.”


Also speaking at the event, the World Wildlife Fund's sustainability expert Jason Clay warned of the dangers of “agricultural sprawl”.

Clay said: “We need to focus on efficiency not just total production. In the next 40 years global income will increase by 190%, which will drive a doubling of consumption.

“The speed of life on the planet is much faster than it’s ever been. In China the doubling of GDP has been 12 times the speed of Britain’s during the Industrial Revolution – at 100 times the scale. The biggest implications of this are for food production.”

Related topics Dairy Dairy-based ingredients

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