Northern Ireland

NI's agri-food sector turnover 'is close to £5bn'

Farmer milking cows Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Milk, milk products, poultry, beef and sheepmeat were the biggest sectors for sales

The turnover of Northern Ireland's agri-food sector increased by almost £500m in 2017, a rise of 11%, according to government statistics.

And the trend in our biggest manufacturing sector is one of continued growth, with provisional estimates for 2018 showing annual sales close to £5bn.

The value of sales in 2017 was £4.8bn.

The biggest market is Great Britain which takes 49% of goods valued at £2,377m

Northern Ireland is next where 24% of produce is consumed.

The Republic of Ireland is our biggest export market accounting for 15% of sales worth £716m.

Other EU countries and the rest of the world account for 12%.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Poultry, beef and sheep meat are amoung the biggest sectors by employment

The sector employs more than 23,000 full-time equivalent workers.

The biggest sectors for sales were beef and sheep meat, milk and milk products and poultry.

There were 23 businesses with an annual turnover in excess of £50m. Between them they accounted for 70% of turnover and 56% of total employment.

By employment, the biggest sectors were poultry, beef and sheep meat, bakery and fruit and vegetable.