January 17, 2022

Value of Ireland's poultry exports dropped 15% in value in 2021


Concerns around outbreaks of bird flu have created uncertainty for poultry market prospects, according to Bord Bia, the state agency of Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The organisation's Performance and Prospects report 2021/2022 has shown that Irish poultry exports decreased by 15% to €128 million (US$146.1 million) last year.

The destinations of exports remained largely unchanged in 2021, with 58% sent to the United Kingdom, 15% to EU countries and 27% to other destinations around the world.

In terms of the value of exports, Bord Bia noted a further decline to the key UK market of 16% to €74 million (US$84.5 million). The impact of COVID-19 on the food service sector and increased trade complexities due to Brexit are blamed for the decline.

The report flagged that the proposed introduction of physical checks on food imports under the UK's EU withdrawal agreement could cause more difficulties for exporters.

Export value to the EU fell by 16% to €19 million (US$21.7 million), but there was a 25% increase in demand from France due to a faster rebound than expected from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Although Irish poultry numbers increased by 3% in the first nine months of 2021, Bord Bia said that production was impacted by higher feed and energy costs and a shortage of labour during the final quarter of the year.

The report noted that concerns around bird flu outbreaks "create further uncertainty" for the Irish poultry sector this year.

In recent months, six cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland: five in Co. Monaghan and one in Co. Cavan.

Bord Bia said that the South African market closed to Irish produce due to a case of bird flu in a commercial flock in December 2020, resulting in a drop of 63% in exports to €33 million (US$37.7 million).

The report said that market access to South Africa and other destinations "will play an important role in determining prospects for the sector in 2022."


Bord Bia also noted that if feed prices continue to remain high, it "will have a significant implication for global poultry production" this year.

- Agriland

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