According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) exports of food and live animals increased by €616m in 2013 to more than €8.7bn up eight per cent.

The CSO this week released its Goods Exports and Imports document for December. The figures show that nationally across all sectors of the economy imports were up by one per cent to €49bn resulting in a 12 per cent decrease in the trade surplus to €37bn.

And agriculture continues to perform strongly in terms of exports compared to other sectors of the economy. December figures shows that food and live animals exports were up €109m compared to the same month last year. This is up 15 per cent and brings the total for exports from the sector to €817m for the month.

Broken down dairy products exports performed very strongly in December. The valve of dairy exports was up €32m on the same month last year to €165m. For 2013 in total the value of exports was €1.9bn this is up 15 per cent on 2012.

The beef sector had a less successful December the value of meat and meat preparations exports were down marginally on the same month last year at €290m. For 2013 in total exports to the value of over €3bn were made from the sector up 1.3 per cent on 2012.

On the import side over €6bn of food and live animals were imported last year an increase of 8.24 per cent on 2012. Imports of cereals were up €25m to €97m in December. For 2013 as a whole cereal imports were up 9 per cent to €1.01bn. Other feedstuffs excluding imports were up 11 per cent last year to €898m.

The UK remained Ireland’s most importing trading block with exports of €3.451bn in 2013 up 5.5 per cent. Exports to other EU countries from the food sector were also up 7 per cent to €3.313bn last year.

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