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Trade & Statistics

Facts about Agriculture in Ireland

  • The agri-food sector covers trade in food, drink, forestry and animal feed, as well as live animals, skins, furs, wools and oils.  Food and drink accounts for 93% of all agri-food products in 2017;
    • The sector employed over 173,000 people or 7.9% of total employment in 2017, and contribute 7.8% of Modified Gross National Income;
    • Total value of agri-food exports in 2017 was almost €13.6 billion - 38% (€5.2 billion) went to UK;
    • Total value of agri-food imports in 2017 was €8.7 billion - 47% (€4.1 billion) came from UK;
    • Agri-food accounts for approx. 15% of total merchandise goods exports go to UK
    • 14.6% of all agri-food exports to UK went to NI

Agri-food trade and exposure to UK market

In terms of specific sectoral exposure:

  • Almost 50% of our beef exports go to UK,
  • About  22% of our dairy exports go to the UK, of which:
    • 41% is cheese,  26% is butter and 12% is SMP;
    • Cheddar is the largest dairy export to the UK - 47% (81k tonnes) of Irish cheddar cheese is exported to the UK.
    • Some 47% of cheddar exported to the UK is of Irish origin.
  • 99% of mushroom and 71% forestry products and more than 62% of prepared consumer foods are exported to the UK.

Top 5 UK foodstuff exports

Top 5 UK foodstuff imports