The pigmeat sector is a very important component of the Irish agri-food industry and accounted for €586m in exports in 2020. With 320 commercial pig producers producing 3.5m pigs annually for processing in ROI, the Irish pig industry makes a valuable contribution to farm income, regional employment, and export earnings. The sector supports approximately 7,000 jobs including production, slaughter, processing, feed manufacture and services, right across rural Ireland.
Pig production is highly concentrated in Ireland with farm level output from some 320 commercial producers largely processed at five main processing plants throughout the country.
In recent years, Irish pigmeat has shown exceptional growth in exports, in particular to international markets. Nonetheless, producers and processors face continuous challenges when competing in the international marketplace ranging from high feed and energy costs to market access disruption, supply surges, currency fluctuations, etc. On-going efficiency and innovation are required to ensure Ireland can maintain its existing presence in European and international markets and to develop new markets across the globe. As pork consumption worldwide is expected to grow steadily over the coming years, the challenge for the Irish industry is to share in that growth and deliver increased contribution to national economic activity.