The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has published its Annual Review and Outlook for 2022.
The review and outlook again underlines the critical importance of the agriculture, food and marine sectors to the overall national economy. The report outlines the thousands of jobs in every city, town, village and parish of the country which are supported by the agri-food sector.
Commenting on the 2022 Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Annual Review and Outlook, Minister McConalogue said, “once again, we seen the critical importance of the agri-food sector which is our largest and most important indigenous sector. We have seen the resilience of our farmers and fishers, food producers, processors, and the distribution chain. This is evident when we see the rise in value of agri-food exports last year, to a record €15.4 billion, which is up 51% in value since 2012.”
“We exported our quality produce to over 180 countries, with our largest export being dairy, which exceeded €5 billion for the third year in a row. Agri-food exports accounted for 9.5% of total goods exports from Ireland. Last year, average Family Farm Income increased for the third successive year, by 26% during 2021, and Irish farmers received close to €1.9 billion in direct and capital payments under EU and nationally-funded schemes.”
“Of course, 2022 has been a year of additional challenges for the sector, with the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine ramping up existing pressures, resulting in a massive increase in input costs at both farm and processing levels. The additional exceptional supports provided by my department in 2022, and also those provided for in Budget 2023, will help to support the sector through these challenging times.”
In 2021, Ireland had 135,037 farms, 808,848 hectares of forestry and nearly 1,900 fishing vessels. The sector employed 170,400 people, or 7.1%, of the total workforce on the island, employing close to 14% of the workforce in rural and coastal regions. Almost 56,000 of these people worked in the 2,000 food and beverage enterprises throughout the country.
The Irish agri-food sector is globally orientated, with approximately 90% of Irish beef, sheepmeat and dairy produce exported. The United Kingdom remains our largest trading partner with 38% (€5.8 billion) of agri-food products; EU countries accounted for 31% (€4.8 billion); and the rest of the world accounted for 31% (€4.8 billion). The United States was the second largest export destination with the Netherlands in third place, both importing over €1.2 billion of Irish Agri-food products in 2021. At €5.1 billion for the third year, dairy products were the largest agri-food export, followed by beef at €2.4 billion, beverages at €1.8 billion and other meats at €1.6 billion.
The Minister concluded, “our great sector is facing a decade of challenge as we continue our journey to become even more sustainable. With our stakeholder-led Food Vision 2030 acting as our roadmap, we can be safe in the knowledge that the entire industry is focused on delivering on the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, societal and economic.”