Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (346, 349)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

346. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which markets for Irish-produced beef, lamb and pig meat and poultry remain positive or are threatened in the future arising from Brexit or otherwise; the extent to which his Department studies these issues on an ongoing basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7757/21]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

349. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which Brexit has to date negatively or positively affected Irish food exports, including beef, dairy, pigmeat, poultry and lamb; if specific measures need to be taken arising therefrom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7760/21]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 346 and 349 together.

It is too early to gauge the full impact of Brexit on meat and dairy trade since the trade deal struck between the EU and UK in late December 2020, though it is clear that without the deal, the situation would be a lot more challenging. My officials monitor prices and export levels on an ongoing basis to identify any new developments. Prices and production levels for all meat species are collated in the weekly Meat Market Report which is publicly available on my Departments website. My Department also works closely with industry to identify barriers to trade and market access priorities, and with Bord Bia to identify market trends and opportunities worldwide.

My Department is contributing to the whole of Government effort to support Brexit-impacted businesses, including the recent launch of the €100 million EI scheme for capital investment in the meat and dairy processing sector, which will support industry to invest in product and market diversification.

My officials will continue to monitor developments as outlined above. Export levels are monitored for all commodities through analysis of CSO statistics. Despite significant challenges in 2020 arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, Irish exports continued to perform well.

Total dairy exports up to the end of November, according to CSO trade data, totalled €4.653 billion and volume of 1.460 million tonnes. This compares with the same period in 2019 with equivalent dairy exports worth €4.683 billion and 1.494 million tonnes.

In respect of beef exports in the same period, over 466,717 tonnes of beef were exported at a value of €2.1 Billion. This compares to 479,105 tonnes at a value of €2.1 billion for the same period in 2019

Sheep meat exports up to the end of November 2020 were 58,275 tonnes valued at €323 million compared to 56,263 tonnes with a value of €287 million for the same period in 2019.

In the case of pig meat, the CSO reported exports up to the end of November of 251,700 tonnes valued at €808 million. This compares to 255,537 tonnes values at €815 million for the same period in 2019.

Poultry exports up to the end of November 2020 were 128,040 tonnes valued at almost €226 million. This compares to 130,864 tonnes valued at over €225 million for the same period in 2019.

Gaining access to new markets and opening new trading opportunities for Irish exports while simultaneously strengthening established export markets has been and remains integral to my Department’s strategic approach to the development of the agri-food sector.