The emergence of new markets for higher volumes of Irish sheepmeat has been critical in underpinning growth in sheepmeat exports. The growth in markets such as Sweden, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands in recent years has also been important in compensating for reduced sheepmeat exports to the French market, along with the added bonus of being higher-value markets importing primal products and higher-value cuts over full carcases.

Members of the Offaly Lamb Producer Group recently undertook a study trip to Belgium, a market which has recorded significant growth in the last 10 years and was worth €25m in 2016. An important factor in developing the market is the presence of Irish Country Meats (ICM) in Belgium, which made the visit of the Offaly group members possible.