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Beef boosts Irish food exports

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Beef boosts Irish food exports

Beef boosts Irish food exports
May 27
14:13 2013

Strong beef sales have contributed to a 27% value hike in Irish food and drink exports over the last three years to €9bn in 2012, while trade with the UK has risen by 5% over the last year alone to €3.8bn or 42% of all exports.

Beef exports to the UK were an estimated 237,000 tonnes (52%), valued at over €910m (48%) in 2012, with total beef exports rising 2% to €1.9bn on the back of higher prices despite a drop in volume sales to all major markets except Germany.

The figures represent “a very welcome contribution to Irish economic performance in difficult times”, said Irish agriculture minister Simon Coveney. “Some of this growth was in new markets, which is particularly welcome.”

Supplied by Bord Bía, the statistics are quoted in the just-published Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture, Food & the Marine 2012/2013 for the Republic of Ireland.

Food and drink exports to other European markets totalled €2.8bn, while non-European exports grew by 8% year-on-year to €2.4bn in 2012.

Beef represented the second-biggest sector after dairy, at 21% of food and drink exports, while pigmeat was second only to seafood in terms of year-on-year value growth, rising 15% to €457m in 2012. Other sectors included prepared foods at 15% (€1.4bn); poultry, 2% (€208m); sheepmeat, 2% (€205m); and live animals, 2% (€217m).

Pigmeat exports to RoI’s biggest market, the UK, were valued at €265m representing an 8% year-on-year increase. France and Britain account for 70% of Irish sheepmeat exports.

Collectively, Bord Bía values 2012 meat and livestock exports at almost €3.1bn or a third of food and drink exports, generating growth double that of total exports.

Stronger beef prices helped offset lower finished cattle supplies and live cattle exports, which dropped by a quarter to 160,000 head in 2012. Over 60% of beef exports by volume went into higher-value standard retail, premium foodservice and retail or quick-service markets.

Some recovery is expected in live cattle exports in 2013, with beef export availability expected to reach 500,000 tonnes.

For pigmeat, a 3% increase in production and a 10% rise in prices boosted export returns, with a slight shift from Continental towards global markets such as China, the US and Russia.


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