An uncertain future for Irish pig meat?

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The pig meat sector is extremely important for Irish agriculture and it is also very export dependent, with the UK its primary destination.

The relationship between the Irish and UK pig meat industry means it is important to consider how the Irish sector is developing, as there may be repercussions and opportunities here in the UK. This is especially relevant in light of the Brexit vote. The Irish pig meat sector accounts for approximately a third of agri-food output value and is the third most important sector after dairy and beef. The sector is over 200% self-sufficient.

In 2016, the Irish pig industry experienced improving market conditions during the course of the year, similar to those of other key European producing nations.Domestic consumption also showed positive developments and overall market growth was also aided by increasing Irish production.

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However despite the many positives, the impact of an unfavourable euro/sterling exchange rate following the Brexit vote in June did pose a challenge to Irish pig meat exporters. This trade is likely to remain challenging from an Irish perspective in 2017 and also in the medium term. In addition, as with the UK and other global pork exporters, Ireland is expected to face a more challenging global pork market this year.With 2017 supplies looking to stand on last year’s figures, Ireland may have to work hard to find outlets for its pig meat.

To read more about the Irish pig meat sector, and its relationship with the UK market, click here.

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Bethan Wilkins, Analyst

bethan.wilkins@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8757