30/07/2004

Food and drinks processing sector worth £2.4bn

Northern Ireland's food and drinks processing sector is believed to be worth £2.4 billion, it has been revealed today.

The annual report, ‘Size and Performance of the Northern Ireland Food and Drinks Processing Sector’, published by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, contains a comprehensive analysis of the performance of the processing sector in 2002, along with provisional estimates for 2003.

The report shows that the sector continues to contribute almost 2.5% of the Northern Ireland economy’s gross value added and accounts for 21% of Northern Ireland’s manufacturing sales.

Overall performance of the sector is greatly influenced by the milk/milk products and beef/sheepmeat subsectors as they account for almost 50% of the value of sales of the whole food and drinks processing sector.

The poultrymeat subsector continues to create the highest level of employment and added value of any of the 10 sub-sectors which comprise the processing sector.

The level of employment remained relatively unchanged between 2001 and 2002 with almost 19,000 people employed in processing activities while export sales represented 13% of the Northern Ireland total level of exports by the manufacturing sector.

Today's report is the 12th in the series.

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