Dairy recovery sees value Irish agricultural output grow at second fastest rate in EU

GEA dairy system
GEA dairy system
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The value of Irish agriculture output grew at the second fastest rate in Europe last year, according to new figures from the European Commission.

In almost all EU Member States, the value of agricultural output increased in 2017.

However, the highest increase, in relative terms, was recorded in Estonia (+18.2pc), ahead of Ireland (+13.6pc), Romania (+13.2pc), the United Kingdom (+12.6pc) and Poland (+11.1pc).

Irish agri-food exports hit a record 12.6bn last year, according to figures from Bord Bia, with sales growth to the UK continuing to grow despite Brexit fears.

Dairy remains the most valuable sector, with exports of products and ingredients valued at €4bn, up 19pc, and now accounts for one third of all food and drink exports.

Among the Member States with the largest agricultural industry, the value of total agricultural output increased by 8.6pc in Germany, 4.5pc in Spain, 3.2pc in France and 2.2pc in Italy.

The economic accounts for agriculture show that total agricultural output in the European Union (EU) stood at €432.6 billion in basic prices in 2017, up by 6.2pc compared with 2016.

In 2017, the equivalent of 56pc (or €244.1 bn) of the value of agricultural output generated was spent on intermediate consumption (input goods and services), while gross value added (i.e. the value of output minus the value of intermediate consumption) was the equivalent of 44pc (or €188.5 bn).

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The combination of the sharp increase in the value of agricultural output and a limited increase in intermediate consumption (+1.8pc) resulted in a steep rise in the gross value added (+12.4pc) generated by the EU agricultural industry in 2017 compared with 2016.

With €72.6 bn (or 17pc of the EU total) in 2017, France had the highest total agricultural output among Member States.

It was followed by Germany (€56.2bn, or 13pc), Italy (€55.1 bn, or 13pc), Spain (€50.6 bn, or 12pc), the United Kingdom (€31.8 bn, or 7pc), the Netherlands (€28.9 bn, or 7pc), Poland (€24.9 bn, or 6pc) and Romania (€17.5 bn, or 4pc).

The 6.2pc increase in EU agricultural output in 2017 compared with 2016 can be largely attributed to an increase in the value of animal output (+10.3pc), itself largely reflecting an increase in prices (+10.3pc).

The higher value of animal output in 2017 was due mainly to rises of 20.2pc for milk, 17.9pc for eggs and 11.6pc for pigs, mostly as a result of increases in prices.

The value of crop output increased in the EU by 3.6%, with volume up by 1.7% and prices up by 1.9%. The rise was mainly due to increases of 10.2% for wheat and spelt and of 7.7% for industrial crops.

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