Meat contributes to record Irish food exports growth

Meat contributes to record Irish food exports growth

The value of food and drink exports in Ireland increased by 13% to €12.6 billion in 2017, boosted by increased output in key sectors, including pigmeat, sheepmeat and beef.

According to Bord Bia’s Export Performance and Prospects 2017-2018 report, the increase represented growth of almost 60%, or €4.7 billion, since 2010, as the food industry saw rising demand in some major markets and the emergence of newer markets for exporters.

The total value of meat and livestock exports increased by 8% to almost €3.9 billion, more than reversing the decline recorded in 2016.

This market now equates to 31% of all food exports, with the UK remaining Ireland’s key export market, accounting for 50% of the overall market.

Tara McCarthy

Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy.

The value of Irish beef exports rose by 5% to almost €2.5 billion, while the volume of beef available for export increased to 615,000 tonnes, with the average price increasing marginally by 1% per tonne.

Ireland is the fifth largest net exporter of beef in the world, with beef exports having been valued at €2.5 billion.

Sheepmeat export volumes also rose by 14% to 57,000 tonnes, with France and the UK remaining the largest markets.

The value of pigmeat exports increased by 3% to 247,000 tonnes, bringing the total value of exports to about €712 million; some 56% of these exports go to the UK, while 13% of them went to China, the second largest market.

It is estimated that the value of poultry exports increased to €295 million, up 2%, driven by slightly higher volumes and improved unit prices.

Speaking at the report’s launch, Bord Bia CEO, Tara McCarthy highlighted the currency risk that remains for all sectors and commented: “Sterling volatility, combined with slower economic growth, food inflation and lower wage forecasts, will put further pressure on the UK market as an export destination.

“While the UK remains our most important market, these prospects provide an additional incentive for Irish exporters to explore new markets within the EU26 and beyond.”

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