The agri-food sector is one of Ireland’s most important indigenous industries, employing in the region of 50,000 people directly, as well as providing the primary outlet for the produce of 128,000 family farms. These jobs are dispersed throughout all regions of Ireland, especially rural areas. The sector accounts for half of purchased Irish goods and services by the manufacturing industry and just over half of exports by indigenous manufacturing industries.

Key Facts

-Supplies the majority of produce to Ireland’s €14bn domestic grocery and food service sector
-Ireland is the largest net exporter of dairy ingredients, beef and lamb in Europe
-Ireland is the largest exporter in Europe of powdered infant formula
-Ireland exports over 80% of its dairy and beef production
-Ireland is the UK’s largest supplier of food and drink
-Irish beef is stocked by more than 70 retail chains across Europe
-Ireland exports over half the pigmeat it produces – to over 60 countries around the world

Challenges facing the sector

The Food and Drink sector faces major “change” issues right across the industry value chain:

Changes to the CAP (and WTO arrangements), however they are positioned, will fundamentally change the economics of agriculture supply/production in Ireland and the EU.

Competitiveness: The relentless increases in business and regulatory compliance costs in the Irish economy, coupled with a broadly “deflationary“ consumer food market in Ireland and the EU, means that manufacturer margins are being eroded and this may lead to products and services being sourced from lower cost locations.

Increased concentration levels and buying power of multiple food retailers and changes in distribution arrangements is further inhibiting Irish cost recovery.

Increased scale: A combination of deflationary markets and increased concentration requires increased scale at manufacturer/supplier level.

Responsible marketing and consumption of alcoholic drink and increasingly food products has a major public health dimension.

Policy drift as demonstrated by a tendency to disconnect decisions affecting costs from debates about prices is directly undermining the sectors competitiveness.

What role in the sector does ONF play

Based in Kilkenny the firm is at the heart of one of the primary food producing regions in the country. We provide the full range of services which are offered by the firm to a wide range of businesses in the sector. We are completely aligned with the industry concept of Farm to Fork. We work with hundreds of primary producers at farm level and are considered by many as being the specialist Farm Accountants in the Kilkenny and South East area since 1974 when farm taxation was introduced.  The incorporation of the family farm into a limited company is now becoming a significant feature in the work we perform.  We work with processors and retailers in each and every step in the process of bringing high class high quality food to the tables of consumers around the world.

We act as accountants and trusted advisors to numerous firms in the Agri inputs segment, seed and fertilizer merchants, provender mills, animal genetics suppliers and many associated businesses.

We also work with substantial food processors in the beef, pigmeat segment. Many of these businesses have been clients of the firm for decades and we have worked closely with them in achieving they growth strategy.