Irish poultry exports increased by 20% in 2014, with much of it heading to the UK for transfer to other markets, according to latest figures from the Irish Food Board (Bord Bia).
Total shipments from Ireland grew from €259m (£200m) in 2013 to €310m (£240m) in 2014, with more than 80% destined for the UK. Some was processed product, but the bulk of it was chicken feet and similar low-value products for further export to Asian markets.
"The price of chicken feet and that type of product has increased quite strongly recently, and the volume we export has also increased. So that boosted the overall value of poultry exports," explained Padraig Brennan, senior business analyst at Bord Bia. "It shows there is potential to increase the value of the trade, which is positive," he said, pointing out that exports of poultry meat have been nearly static in recent years.
Latest figures show exports continuing to rise, so prospects are good for 2015, Brennan added. "Internationally it looks as if demand is going to be strong, so we hope that, with feed costs coming back, the sector will do well."
Poultry shipments to the UK grew by about 28% during the period in volume terms, and 20% in value terms to an estimated €255m (£197m), or some 82% of the total. Other markets showing strong growth included South Africa and Germany, albeit from a lower base. Overall Irish exports increased by 22% to 85,000t during the first nine months of 2014.
Looking at the rest of Europe, Bord Bia estimates that EU poultry meat production increased by just under 2% in 2014. Imports were about 4% higher, with larger shipments from Brazil and Thailand. Exports increased by a similar amount, driven by stronger trade to Africa and Asia. Broiler prices across Europe fell by 2% in 2014.
Source: Poultry World