The total estimated value of food and drink exports from Ireland in 2018 is €12.11bn, down from €12.4bn the previous year.
However, the value of exports are still up €4.7bn since 2010, an increase of 64% in eight years. Irish food and drink were exported to over 180 countries in 2018, with increased output.
The Bord Bia ‘Export and Performance Prospects’ report states that volume growth in many categories was counteracted by global price volatility. Irish food and drink exports were 50,000 tonnes higher in 2018 than 2017.
The strongest performer in terms of export growth was the dairy sector, with export volumes up 5%. The value of Ireland’s dairy exports in 2018 was €4bn. Irish butter exports exceeded €1bn for the first time, performing well in the US and Europe.
Half of Ireland’s cheese exports still went to the UK, but in 2018 22% of cheese exports went outside the UK and continental Europe. This figure is up from 17% in 2017. The value of cheese exports to Asia and North America was €75m.
The value of meat and livestock exports from Ireland in 2018 was just under €4bn. Beef production increased by 3%, while prices tightened, on average, by 1.8% for exporters. Over 1,000 tonnes of beef went to China after the market opened up in April.
Sheepmeat export values are up 15% to €315m, according to the Bord Bia figures. The export value of Irish pigmeat declined 6% to €666m due to pressure on prices. Meanwhile, poultry exports rose 8% in 2018 to €316m.
Bord Bia says that the Irish poultry industry is set to produce 100 million birds for the first time in 2019.
Exports of live animals were valued at €161m in 2018, a decline from €175m in the previous year.
The agri-food sector's dependence on the UK market for exports grew in 2018. The UK accounted for €4.5bn or 36% of all agri-food exports last year.
Exports to other EU states exceeded €4bn for the second year running. In 2018, €3.45bn Irish agri-food exports went outside the EU. This accounts for 29% of Ireland’s total export value and is up from €1.8bn in 2010. However, it is down from 32% in 2017.
How did Irish agri-food exports do in 2018?