October 13,  2020


Most of Ireland's poultry exports goes to UK


74% of Ireland's poultry meat is exported to the United Kingdom as the country produced a record 161,000 tonnes, according to an annual report by the Irish Department of Agriculture and Marine.

Over 106 million birds were slaughtered in 2019. Exports actually dropped last year by 4% and the export value of the Irish poultry sector was €294 million (US$346.8 million).

The report also stated that Ireland is now the sixth largest net exporter of beef in the world. Beef exports totalled €2.3 billion (US$2.7 billion) and 90% of exports were to EU member states.

In addition, the report sets out how the volume of live exports increased by 22% to 300,000 head of cattle, while the cattle kill for 2019 fell by 4.4% to 1.7 million.

The export of pigmeat to China is also booming, according to the report. It jumped by 50%, mainly due to increased demanded from there as a result of African swine fever (ASF). Overall, €890 million (US$1 billion) worth of pigmeat was exported - a year on year increase of 8%.

"This growth in export values vindicates the accurate direction and focuses of the Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025 strategies," the department said.

Ireland produced 5% of the European Union's milk last year. Dairy exports were worth €5 billion (US$5.9 billion), which was up 12% on 2018.

The UK accounted for 20% of dairy exports.

The report also targets seafood as a potential export growth area. It stated that consumption is predicted to grow worldwide by 42 million tonnes per year, as the world's population is set to reach eight billion people by 2025.

Last year, seafood exports were worth €577 million (US$680.5 million). While some areas were "challenged",  the report stated that other areas boomed, with salmon exports up by 25% in value.

The department noted that EU markets accounted for 50% of seafood exports.

Shellfish exports dropped in 2019 with frozen prawns being Ireland's largest shellfish export.


The overall scale of the agri-food sector to Ireland's exports is €14.5 billion (US$17.1 billion) and it accounts for 9.5% of total exports.

A total of 164,400 people are employed in Ireland's agri-food sector.


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