Meat sector maintains export growth in the first quarter of this year

The pandemic restrictions that have been gradually lifted at the beginning of last year influenced the increase in Lithuania’s exports by almost a quarter. However, the very unexpected events that began in 2022 led to a 25% fall. According to the data of the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS), in the first months of this year, just over 56,000 tonnes of Lithuanian animal products were exported, which is almost 19,000 tonnes less than last year. 

"We see a decrease in exports in the first quarter. It could have been expected that a chain reaction of events that shook the world would affect businesses. Nevertheless, despite the overall decline, some sectors have not only maintained but also increased their export volumes. More production has already been exported by meat producers this year, and as usual, Lithuanian dairy products steadily stay at the top of the export curve. Lithuanian producers have repeatedly shown they are able to adapt quickly to a wide range of changing conditions. We hope the situation will gradually stabilise and we will see a positive change in the next quarter", — Mantas Staškevičius, Director of the SFVS, reviewed the data for the first quarter of 2022.

Fresh meat exports showed the strongest growth at the beginning of this year. In the first months of 2022, fresh meat exports accounted for 400 tonnes more than in the same period of the previous year (2,900 tonnes).  The highest amount, i.e., almost 3,000 tonnes of poultry, was exported and transported by producers to Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. More than 300 tonnes of beef were exported, mainly to Georgia, Norway, and more than 80 tonnes of Lithuanian beef reached Ukraine. Pork exports also increased, with 100 tonnes more than last year. In the first months of this year, Lithuanian meat products went mainly to Japan (more than 120 tonnes shipped). The USA also remained an important market for meat products.

In dairy exports, Lithuanian cheeses show the highest and most stable figures. More than 8,000 tonnes of these products were exported at the beginning of the year – 3,000 tonnes more than last year. Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia were the main importers of Lithuanian dairy products.

Over 130 tonnes of egg products were exported to third countries during the first three months of the year, almost twice as much as last year. Japan remains the main market for egg products.

"We are working intensively to open even more new markets for Lithuania. I hope that authorisations to export milk, beef, fishery and egg products to the Taiwanese market should be approved soon. We have also recently harmonised permits for poultry and egg products to be exported to Singapore. However, the opening of new markets, as well as the procedures for renewing already harmonised certificates, remain one of the most important factors contributing to the stabilisation of exports in times of crisis", — said Mantas Staškevičius, Director of the SFVS.

Exports of culinary products, as in previous year, show a slight but stable growth, this year more than 400 tonnes have already been shipped. Nonetheless, the military action in Ukraine has disrupted one of the main supply chains for fishery products. So far, almost 90 % of all fishery products exported from Lithuania went to Ukraine. At the beginning of last year, exports of fishery products to Ukraine amounted to almost 40,000 tonnes, and this year a little more than 18,000 tonnes were shipped. In response to the situation, Lithuanian producers are trying to redirect their exports of fishery products to other markets. With almost 2,500 tonnes exported, this year exports to Moldova amounted to 200 tonnes more of fishery products than last year. Bosnia-Herzegovina, Vietnam, the USA, Uzbekistan and Canada also imported fish products.