Poultry exports grew four per cent in 2013 to €230m. However the UK remains the largest destination for Irish poultry products accounting for 83 per cent.

According to the Bord Bia export performance report published yesterday the value of trade to the UK was largely unchanged in 2013 as stronger exports of processed poultry helped offset lower fresh and frozen volumes.

In its report the Irish Food Board says exports to Continental EU markets performed well in value terms led by France, which saw a sharp rise in exports of frozen product. The value of exports to the region is estimated at around €30m.

Whist trade to international markets showed little change with stable exports reported to South Africa and the rest of Africa. The value of trade stood at €13m.

Bord Bia stresses that reduced feed costs in the second half of the year combined with stable consumer demand helped the poultry sector across Europe in 2013 although prices came under some pressure as the year progressed.

From an Irish point of view figures from the EU Commission suggests that Irish poultry production increased marginally in 2013 to reach 127,000 tonnes. Higher broiler output is estimated to have offset lower turkey and stable duck production.

Bord Bia’s report outlines that retail sales of fresh chicken on the Irish market showed a drop of 3% for the 52 weeks ending 10th November 2013, reflecting the competitive nature of the Irish retail meat sector. It notes that this is despite the fact that retail chicken prices continue to run at less than 80% of the average retail meat price.

In its outlook for 2014 Bord Bia estimate that there will be little change is expected in Irish poultry production.

Some further growth is anticipated in EU poultry production for 2014. Global output is expected to grow by almost three per cent with all major producers expected to grow led by China, Brazil, India, the US and Russia.

On the demand side global consumption set to rise, with this in mind Bord Bia suggest the prospects for EU exports remains reasonably good with increased shipments expected to Africa and Asia. However they cite that little change is anticipated in EU imports.

According to Bord Bia, these developments suggest that EU broiler prices may show modest growth in 2014. However, EU consumer demand and international trade developments will be critical.