Industry: Dairy

The dairy industry on the island of Ireland acts as a single entity, facilitated by the free movement of milk, product and staff, which has been underpinned by the BGFA for the last 25 years.

Intra and inter-company movements of milk have been developed over time, in collaboration with authorities in both jurisdictions. This is driven by the need to generate efficiencies, improve productivity and added value, facilitated by common EU standards, labelling and free movement of product and people. Raw milk and product cross over and back with ease across the border. About a third of Northern Ireland’s milk output (800 million litres) is exported to Ireland.

What has been created is an all-island value chain for dairy, which operates to the ultimate benefit of dairy farmers, rural communities, companies and the overall economy in both countries. Today it is the island’s biggest native industry with a value approaching €16 billion, concentrated in rural areas.

Dairy has emerged as a key economic driver for both parts of the island and is a sector that serves as a key supplier and customer of Great Britain (GB). The island of Ireland produces almost 11.5 billion litres of milk, with that raw product contributing to the provision of around 80,000 direct and indirect jobs, with 93% of the dairy industry’s output exported, delivering about €7 billion export revenue annually to both jurisdictions.

Recent times have seen the industry take its place as a global hub for the development of specialised nutrition and functional foods. The health and nutrition portfolio of products includes sports nutrition, infant formula, elder nutrition, foods for special medical purposes. Island of Ireland dairy output is now the source of many health products for citizens across the globe.