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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Irish poultry production

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which the poultry production sector in Ireland remains viable; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

As in other meat sectors, global trade conditions will be crucial in determining the outlook for the Irish poultry sector over the medium to longer term.  
Poultrymeat, which is a food high in protein, has seen an increase in demand in recent years and this increase has seen a 10% increase in the average price paid in August 2022 when compared to the average price paid at the beginning of the year. The August average price for 2022 is 15.6% and 12.9% higher than the average price paid in August 2020 and 2021 respectively.  

Poultry throughput for 2021 was slightly down on 2020 (-1.1%) with a total of 110.4 million birds processed. CSO figures show that while the volume of exports fell by 29.3% to 94,295 tonnes in 2021, the value of Irish poultry exports for 2021 fell by 7.2% to just under €237m.

The UK (€181m) accounted for 76.5% of exports. France (€8.4m), Germany (€6.5m), and Netherlands (€14.8m) also featured prominently as export destinations. Securing market access and diversifying trade remains a key aim for my Department. Developing market opportunities at home and abroad is one of the goals of Food Vision 2030.

As of August 2022 the year-to-date value of poultrymeat exports was 46.4% higher than the same period of 2021, at €204.6 million.

I am aware of the pressures being faced by many in the agri-food sector due to the increase in input costs, exacerbated by the impact of the illegal war in Ukraine. The Department continues to monitor the markets and any impacts on the agri-food sector. Poultry is normally reared under contract to processors, for a pre-agreed price, and therefore poultry producers are not typically subject to the same price fluctuations as other farmers.

I am also very aware of the contribution of the poultry production sector to Irish agri-food as a whole, supporting significant levels of direct employment as well as their role in supporting rural economies and the wider national economy and I firmly believe that the poultry production sector in Ireland remains viable.

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