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For Oral Answer on : 20/05/2021
Question Number(s): 43 Question Reference(s): 26783/21
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by:  David Stanton T.D.


* To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the new market possibilities and value-added opportunities for Irish food producers in the post-Brexit era given the dependence of the Irish agri-food sector on the UK market; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 20 May, 2021.


Developing and increasing third country market access and furthering trade opportunities abroad are integral parts of the Department’s response to the challenges of Brexit. These goals are aligned with the strategic market development theme of Food Wise 2025.

Our agri-food export footprint has increased considerably due to our continued focus on market expansion. I believe there is tremendous potential for all sectors of our industry to grow in a post-Brexit era,  particularly our food processing industries, with opportunities in new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Gulf region.  Nevertheless, the UK remains a priority market for growth, even in a post-Brexit era.

My Department and its agencies have invested hugely in this work, and it is heartening to have seen Irish agri-food exports in 2020 valued at €14.3 billion, which was in itself an exceptional performance given the Covid-19 pandemic. Bord Bia has indicated that half of recent growth has come from markets outside Europe. 

Key areas that we have focused on in this regard have been:

  • the development of third country markets, for example through Trade Missions – which were carried out virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • the leveraging of opportunities provided by EU Free Trade Agreements with third countries, and
  • ongoing work to remove technical market access barriers across a range of third country markets. 

The Department also commissioned Bord Bia to undertake a market profiling exercise for potential third country and EU markets for Irish exports. This is proving to be an invaluable tool for Irish exporters and for the Department and its agencies in determining our strategic priorities.

This Government’s commitment to new market development has also been illustrated by the appointment of my colleague, Martin Heydon T.D., as Minister of State with specific responsibility for this task.