Commenting on findings in a recent Irish Food Board report on the 2007 export performance of the food and drink sector, Fine Gael's food and horticulture representative Andrew Doyle welcomed the report: "It's agri-businesses that provide the real growth in the Irish economy. In this time of gloomy forecasts and economic downturns it is heartening to read of a six per cent rise in the prepared-food sector for export to EUR1.8bn (about £1.4bn).
"Despite hikes in production costs because of increased energy and labour costs, the agri-food sector has continued to grow. The value of the export market is now an estimated EUR8.6bn (£6.5bn)."
Doyle said agri-food exports to Asia were up by 50 per cent and the "humble Irish dairy cow" made EUR2.3bn (£1.75bn) last year.