Breaking Records: Irish Agri-Food Exports Skyrocket to €19m in 2022!

Ireland's Agri-Food Exports Skyrocket to New Heights, Surpassing €19 Million in 2022

Agri-food exports in Ireland reached a record value of €19 million in 2022, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The Annual Review and Outlook for 2023, published on Monday, November 27, shows a 22% increase in the value of exports compared to the previous year. The agri-food sector employed 164,900 people in 2022, accounting for 6.5% of the total workforce. This employment was spread across 135,000 farms, 2,000 fishing vessels and aquaculture sites, and approximately 2,000 food production and drink enterprises. The sector is responsible for 4.5 million hectares of agricultural land, over 800,000 hectares of forestry, and contributes 9% to Ireland’s annual exports. The operating surplus in agriculture has doubled in the last decade, reaching €4.7 billion.

The report highlights that the United Kingdom remains Ireland’s top agri-food export destination, with exports worth over €6.7 billion in 2022. The United States follows with €1.7 billion, then the Netherlands (€1.6 billion), France (€1.1 billion), and Germany (€1 billion). Ireland is currently the 8th largest dairy exporter globally, exporting 90% of its dairy products. Dairy exports were valued at almost €7 billion in 2022, with both butter and cheese exports exceeding €1 billion each. Beef exports reached 492,000 tons, with a value of €3.1 billion, representing a €620 million increase from 2021. Fresh beef exports alone were valued at €1 billion. The report also highlights an additional 90,000 tons of cereals produced in 2022, and Irish whiskey exports exceeding €1 billion. The estimated value of horticulture output at farm-gate in 2022 was €531 million.

The report acknowledges that 2022 was a challenging year for Irish farmers due to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on costs. Fertilizer prices rose by almost 100% during the year, while feeding stuffs costs increased by over 30% and energy bills jumped by 45%. Although inflation has fallen somewhat in the second quarter of 2023, the costs to farmers remain significantly higher than in early 2021. The average family farm income for 2022 reached a record of €45,809, a 32% increase from 2021. Direct payments accounted for an average of 40% of family farm income in the same year. Agriculture greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 1.2% or 0.29 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) in 2022 compared to 2021.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, emphasized the importance of the agriculture, food, and marine sectors to the overall national economy. He stated that the food, drink, and primary production sector accounted for 40% of all export sales by Irish-owned companies, directly supporting 165,000 jobs, predominantly in rural and coastal communities. Minister McConalogue highlighted the sector’s adaptability and sustainability, as well as its ambition to be a world leader in sustainable food systems. He expressed confidence in the sector’s potential for growth and meeting the increasing global demand for food produced to high standards.

In conclusion, the DAFM’s Annual Review and Outlook for 2023 demonstrates the significant contribution of the agri-food sector to Ireland’s economy. With record-breaking exports and employment figures, the sector remains a vital component of the country’s overall economic landscape. The report also acknowledges the challenges faced by Irish farmers in 2022 and highlights the sector’s commitment to sustainability and high-quality production. With its natural advantages and long agricultural tradition, Ireland’s agri-food sector is poised for continued growth and success in the global market.

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons

Matt Lyons is the founder of Forestry & Carbon. Matt has over 25 years as a forestry consultant and is invoilved in numerous carbon credit offset projects.

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