Dáil Éireann - Volume 339 - 02 February, 1983

Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers - Food Imports.

2. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Taoiseach the precentage increase in the cost of importing food over the past three years; and if he will give an approximate breakdown of the food items involved.

Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach (Mr. Barrett, Dún Laoghaire): Imports of food for human consumption were valued at £318 million in 1979, £425 million in 1980, £523 million in 1981 and £523 million in 1982. The percentage changes over the preceding year were 33.7 per cent in 1980, 23.1 per cent in 1981 with virtually no overall change in 1982. The total change over the three years was 64.4 per cent.

I propose to circulate in the Official Report a statement giving a breakdown into the broad categories involved.

Following is the statement:

Imports of Food 1979-1982.

[737][738]Division

1979

1980

1981

1982

Change 1979-82

£ million

£ million

£ million

£ million

£ million

%

01

Meat and Meat Preparations

12.6

24.6

43.6

40.3

27.7

220

02

Dairy Products and Birds Eggs

14.9

24.2

41.6

31.1

16.2

109

03

Fish, Crustaceans and Molluscs and preparations thereof

12.7

16.7

21.9

25.4

12.7

100

04

Cereals and Cereal Preparations

90.6

126.4

156.5

129.5

38.9

43

05

Vegetables and Fruit

77.7

100.1

123.6

149.0

71.3

92

06

Sugar, Sugar Preparations and Honey (excluding Molasses)

25.0

35.9

34.3

36.1

11.1

44

07

Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, spices and manufactures thereof

58.6

69.9

68.8

76.6

18.0

31

09

Miscellaneous edible products and preparations

25.8

27.3

32.9

34.8

9.0

35

Total

317.9

425.1

523.2

522.7

204.8

64

Mr. J. O'Leary: Will the Minister say what the percentage of the total food import is in relation to by-products of milk and beef?

Mr. Barrett (Dún Laoghaire): In 1979 the figure for dairy products including birds eggs was £14.9 million; in 1980, £24.2 million; in 1981 £41.6 million and in 1982, £31.1 million. The change from 1979 to 1982 was £16.2 million, 109 per cent.

Mr. Kelly: Would the Minister's figure not suggest, with the exception of the last year, that although the value of food imports has increased there was a decline in volume over the last two years?

Mr. Barrett (Dun Laoghaire): The question only asked for the percentage increase in the cost of imports but I will get that information for the Deputy.