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Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Irish Lamb domestic market and exports

To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which the future for Irish lamb remains attractive in both the export and domestic markets; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Irish sheep farm families produce a world-class product that is in demand across many global markets, and I am very conscious of the important role that the sheep sector plays in the continued growth and development of our agri-food sector. 

According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) sheepmeat exports worth approximately €385 million, or 57,737 tonnes were exported in 2021, an increase of 8.3% in value on 2020. 

For 2022 TYD (September) the value of sheep meat exports increased by 19.6% on the same period last year, with a 13% increase in volume in that period. The overall market outlook for Irish and EU lamb prices for 2022/2023 remains reasonable, although Irish lamb prices are forecast to experience some decline from the record high levels received in 2021. 

In line with this, for the week commencing 21st November , the year-to-date average price for sheep meat was 648.93/kg which is a 7% decrease on the same period in the previous year.  

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.

However, I am acutely aware of the pressures being faced by many sectors across the agriculture industry due to the increase in input costs. Since the invasion of Ukraine, I have taken a proactive approach to dealing with the massive challenges arising for the agri-food and fisheries sector. 

Farming is not alone in dealing with these challenges, but our sector is particularly exposed as a result of the invasion. I have announced several measures since this crisis started, to support our farm families and their businesses and I will continue to support the sector.

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