Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Questions (668)

Seamus Kirk


682 Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will summarise the export market for pork products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35282/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

The pigmeat sector in Ireland has remained resilient in recent years in the face of considerable difficulties. Production increased by over 17% between 2008 and 2011. The sector remains the third largest individual component of the agrifood industry and supports approximately 7,000 jobs, many of which are in rural communities. Production, prices and exports increased significantly in 2011, and growth has continued in 2012 to date. Robust domestic demand coupled with a strong performance in export markets, should help ensure progress in the coming years.

The table over details both the volume and value of pigmeat exports since 2007:

Irish Pigmeat Exports 2007-2011


Volume (tonnes)

Value €














168,000 (est.)


The UK has consistently been the largest export market for Irish pigmeat, accounting for more than 40% of export volume and over 60% in value. Trade to Continental Europe has remained strong notwithstanding the current economic climate, with over a quarter of volume and almost one fifth in value terms destined for this market. France, Germany and Italy are the largest individual Continental markets. Third Country trade has grown considerably in recent years, with volumes to China, Russia Japan and the USA increasing significantly. Improved access to these markets, together with growing demand, resulted in almost one-third of volume and a fifth in value being sold internationally in 2011.

In addition, over 600,000 pigs are exported live, with the majority of these destined for the UK. This trade is valued at approximately €60 million.

Pigmeat remains the most consumed meat worldwide with demand expected to continue to increase in the medium term. This will continue to present opportunities for Irish producers. Bord Bia continues, through its marketing and promotional activities, and through the pigmeat quality assurance scheme, to consolidate the position of Irish pigmeat on the domestic market and to expand its presence on EU and third country markets.