Sheepmeat production in the EU for 2020 saw an overall decrease of 4% (-16,000t) on 2019 levels, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

AHDB’s Charlie Reeve said that this decrease in production across the EU was bigger than the 1.5% estimated by the European Commision based on the EU short-term outlook.

The decrease is primarily attributed to Covid-19 and the impact that it has had on demand from the foodservice and retail sectors.

Looking at sheepmeat production figures in more detail which were gathered by Eurostat, Spain saw the biggest decrease in production.

Spain, which was the largest producer of sheepmeat in the EU last year, produced 114,320t of sheepmeat – down 7,020t from 2019’s figure of 121,340t.

France, the second largest producer of sheepmeat within the EU, produced 80,280t in 2020, and saw a marginal decrease of 670t on the 2019 figure of 80,950t. As well as production decreasing, the AHDB noted that lower import volumes in France were also seen due to less demand from the foodservice sector.

The only countries to see an increase in production, according to the figures gathered, were Germany (+2,000t) and Ireland, although the increase seen here at home was very marginal – up 200t from 66,050t to 66,250t.

Total production of sheepmeat in the EU for 2020 totalled 421,260t – down 16,040t from 2019 (437,300t of sheepmeat was produced in 2019).

Sources: Eurostat/AHDB