Meagre growth for Irish pork exports despite China growth

Mexican delegation visiting UK pursuing pork trade deal
Credit: rtem

The first quarter of 2019 saw Ireland export 69,600 tonnes of pig meat and offal a figure that, according to AHDB Pork, was largely unchanged from 2018.

However, the value of these exports was up 4% to €202.7 million, reflecting a move towards exporting higher value hams.

Despite the flat exports, pig meat production increased by 1% (+1,000 tonnes) year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, totalling 79,000 tonnes.

AHDB Pork says this suggests a greater domestic supply availability in Ireland. Adding to this, Ireland also appears to have imported around 4,000 tonnes more pig meat and offal in the first quarter of the year.

However, this is particularly due to a substantial increase in imports from the UK, which does not reflect the UK export data.

While it is possible that more imports were ordered prior to the original Brexit date at the end of March, AHDB Pork says these figures should be taken with caution.

Around 54% of exports went to the EU compared to 58% last year. However, exports to several key EU destinations – such as Denmark – were down year-on-year.

Exports to China have increased by 20% in volume (+3,000 tonnes) and 23% in value (+€4.8 million) on average.

This, AHDB Pork says, is unsurprising considering the ongoing African Swine Fever Situation. The product is primarily frozen pork and offal. It added that growth to China will continue as the year moves on.