According to the "Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture Food & the Marine, 2013/2014", notwithstanding continued improvement in returns, 2013 was another difficult year for the pig sector.
During 2013, approximately 2.83 million pigs were slaughtered in Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine export-approved plants. This equates to a decline of almost 2.5% compared to 2012. Production declined by 1.3% in the first half of the year, with the rate of decline accelerating to 3.6% in the second sixmonths. Approximately 90,000 sows are included in this 2013 figure, a slight decline from 2012. Pork accounted for almost 97% of the total. The export of live pigs to Northern Ireland fell by approximately 55,000 head, a decline of 8.7% and reached some 575,000 head in 2013.
Pigmeat export values increased during 2013 by 3% and amounted to €525 million. This builds on significant increases seen since 2009. The UK continues to be the largest single market for Irish export product andwitnessed a 6% increase in values to almost €320million. Volumes are estimated to have remained stable at approximately 77,000 tonnes. The volume of trade to Continental European markets fell by almost 10% to 35,000 tonnes as exporters continued to seek more favourable international markets. The value of exports to these markets still reached some €80m, similar to 2012 reflecting higher prices. Performance in International markets was far more positive. Export volumes grew by over 7% and reached some 65,000 tonnes. The value of this product is in the region of €125 million. Much of the increase was in the key destinations of China and Russia, two markets where Ireland continues to strengthen its foothold. The opening of the Australian market for uncooked pig meat provided further opportunities for exporters.
Monday July 7, 2014/ Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine/ Ireland.