€1bn beef exports to UK slump - but we have more than ever to sell
Published 22/11/2016 | 02:30
Beef exports to the UK worth more than €1bn a year are slumping as the unfavourable exchange rate makes it less attractive to British buyers.
Yet Ireland has more beef than ever to sell, the latest figures reveal.
Increased beef supplies come as exports to Ireland's most important beef market continue to fall in the wake of the Brexit vote. According to figures from the UK's Revenue and Customs service, during September a total of 14,356 tonnes of beef were imported by the UK from Ireland, a 13pc reduction from the corresponding month in 2015, when 16,499 tonnes of beef were imported.
In 2015, Ireland exported an estimated 500,000 tonnes of beef worth approximately €2.41bn - and half of that went to the UK. Despite the recent slump, Ireland continues to be the biggest source of beef imports for the UK, with 129,739 tonnes imported during 2016.
Imports from Ireland accounted for 75pc of total beef imports from EU countries to the UK during the first nine months of 2016.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in the UK says the fall in Irish imports comes despite lower domestic prices in Ireland on the back of higher production.
While it says average unit prices were still up over 1pc in sterling, it also adds that increased domestic supplies in the UK will have been a strong contributor to the decline in trade levels.
However, according to figures seen by FarmIreland.ie, we could have more beef than ever to sell.