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Fish & Seafood Industry
Factsheet on the Irish Agriculture and Food & Drink Sector
Food and drink
The agri-food and drink sector accounts for 7.1% of Irelands economy-wide GVA, 11% of Ireland’s exports and 8.6% of total employment. (DAFM 2012)
In 2012, Irish agri-food and drink exports increased by an estimated 2% to approximately €9.01 bn (Bord Bia 2012).
The UK was the main destination for Irish agri-food and drink exports in 2012 accounting for 42% of all exports. 31% of exports went to Continental EU markets, while the remaining 27% went to international markets.
The latest estimates of the distribution of our agri-food and drink exports in 2012 by sector are as follows: dairy products and ingredients (29%), prepared consumer foods (16%), beef (21%), live animals (2%), beverages (14%), pigmeat (6%), poultry (2%), sheepmeat (2%), seafood (6%) and edible horticulture (2%).
In 2012, Gross Agricultural Output (GAO) was valued at €6.72 billion. (DAFM)
The beef category accounts for the largest share of GAO at 32%, while milk accounts for 24%. Other sectors to have a share in GAO include pig (7%), sheep (3%), cereals (5%), and forage plants (17%).
Cattle and Beef
There were 6.9 million cattle in Ireland according to the June 2013 livestock survey. This represents a 2% increase on prior year levels.
Irish beef production is predominately a grass based system, with 495,000 tonnes produced in 2012.
In 2012, Ireland exported an estimated 454,000 tonnes of beef worth approximately €1.9 billion.
In 2012, 160,000 cattle were exported live from Ireland worth approximately €217 million.
Sheep and Sheepmeat
For 2013, the latest June livestock survey indicated that the Irish sheep flock decreased by almost 2% to 5.08 million head, with the breeding flock decreasing by around 1% to 2.65 million head.
During 2012, Ireland exported an estimated 42,000 tonnes of sheepmeat which was valued at approximately €205 million.
France is the main market for Irish sheepmeat exports, accounting for approximately 44% of total exports in 2012. The UK is also a substantial export market, taking 29% of shipments.
Pigs and Pigmeat
In the June 2013 CSO Livestock Survey, there was 1.55 million pigs in Ireland, this represents a decrease of over 1% on prior year levels.
In 2012, Ireland exported an estimated 178,000 tonnes worth approximately €507 million.
In 2012, the UK was the main market for Irish pigmeat taking over 45% of our total exports. Continental EU markets accounted for 23% of our pigmeat exports, while the remaining 32% went to international markets.
In 2012, total milk output (incl. imports) was estimated at 5,630 million litres.
From this total milk output, 487 million litres was consumed as liquid milk. In addition to this, 145,000 tonnes of butter were produced in 2012. While 186,000 tonnes of cheese were produced in 2012.
In 2012, total dairy exports fell by an estimated 4% to €2.62 billion.
There are approximately 139,900 family farms in Ireland with an average size of 32.7 hectares per holding. (CSO, Census of Agriculture 2011)
The total land area of Ireland is 6.9 million hectares of which 4.5 million ha is used for agriculture. (DAFM 2012)
81% (3.67 m ha) of Ireland’s farmland is in pasture, hay and grass silage (grassland), 11% (0.48 m ha) is rough grazing and 8% (0.38 m ha) is in crop production. (DAFM 2012)
© Bord Bia 2014
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