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World 19.01.2024

Irish Dairy Faces Challenges in 2023, but Optimism Persists for 2024, says Bord Bia

Source: The DairyNews
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The annual export performance report indicates that Irish butter exports to the US continued to grow, and there was increased demand from the Middle East.
Irish Dairy Faces Challenges in 2023, but Optimism Persists for 2024, says Bord Bia
However, dairy exports overall slipped to €6.3 billion in value terms.

David Kennedy, Bord Bia's Head of Dairy, attributes the decline to oversupply in 2023 and bearish global commodity markets. High farmgate prices in the second half of 2022 led to increased milk supply globally, resulting in high stocks and expensive dairy commodity products at the beginning of 2023. This oversupply faced challenges in the supply chain due to the affordability concerns of global consumers, impacted by the cost of living crisis.

Key points from the report include:
  • Irish dairy exports declined by around 8% to €6.3 billion in value terms in 2023.
  • Butter, cheese, and whey constituted 45% of the total dairy export volume.
  • Butter exports to the US increased more than 10% in the first nine months of 2023.
  • Dairy exports to the EU, North America, Asia, and Africa experienced declines.
  • Irish butter exports to the US are driven by Ireland's reputation for premium dairy and natural grass-fed production.
  • The Middle East saw a favorable performance, with Irish dairy exports growing 24% to €390 million.
  • Bord Bia expects demand from China to potentially return in 2024.
  • Despite the challenges, Kennedy expresses confidence in the growth potential of the Irish dairy industry in 2024. He anticipates a reduction in global stocks and increased consumption of butter and cheese in key markets. Additionally, there is a growing demand for environmentally sound dairy products, presenting an opportunity for Irish dairy to leverage sustainable trends.

While dairy faced a decline in 2023, it is noted that Ireland's overall food, drink, and horticulture exports were down 4%, with various segments, including meat, processed foods, beverages, seafood, and cereals, experiencing declines.

Bord Bia plans to launch a new four-year strategy later in the year, aiming to build on strengths in sustainability and maintain optimism for the future, despite ongoing challenges and uncertainties.
Becky Smith
Becky Smith
Analyst (Livestock) AHDB
China is an important buyer on the world dairy markets, with a strong influence on global demand that plays into price dynamics. Imports of dairy products to China continued to decline in 2023, driven by increased domestic production and weaker consumer demand.
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Keith Woodford
principal consultant at Agri food Systems Ltd.
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