Irish agri-food exports were worth €19 billion in 2022
Irish agri-food exports were worth €19 billion in 2022, with 165,000 people employed across the sector, according to the latest annual review and outlook report from the Department of Agriculture published today.
Last year was another bumper year for Irish agri-food exports, with total sales of €19 billion, up 22% on 2021.
The increase was primarily driven by the increasing value for food products as overall volume of exports rose just 1%.
The figures are contained in the Department of Agriculture’s annual review and outlook report for 2023.
The report notes that there are 165,000 people employed across 135,000 farms, 2,000 fishing vessels and aquaculture sites and 2,000 food production and drink enterprises, with agri-food products exported to 180 countries worldwide.
The UK remains our top export market, followed by the US, the Netherlands, France and Germany.
The report also notes that greenhouse gas emissions from the sector reduced by 1.2% last year compared with 2021.
Welcoming the report, Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said it demonstrates once again the importance of the agri-food sector to the economy.
He said it “is our largest and most important indigenous exporting sector and despite the many challenges faced in the last number of years by our farmers and fishers, food producers, processors, and the food distribution chain, the sector has demonstrated its adaptability and resilience to continue to deliver safe and nutritious food for Irish and international markets”.
He also noted the importance of the sector to rural and coastal areas of the country.
The Food, Drink and Primary Production sector accounted for 40% of all export sales by Irish-owned companies, directly supporting 165,000 jobs, or 6.5% of total employment predominantly in rural and coastal communities.
“This significant domestic economic footprint, including its export profile, reflects the natural comparative advantages of Irish production and a long agricultural tradition,” he added.