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How Important is Agriculture and the AgriFood Sector in Ireland?


  • Alan Matthews


Conventional estimates of the economic contribution of agriculture and the agri-food sector suggest that the overall sector still accounts for around 10% of total employment, GNP and exports, even after the structural changes brought about by the Celtic Tiger economy in the 1990s. These estimates, however, conceal the extent to which primary agriculture, in particular, is now dependent on public policy transfers. This article undertakes a statistical deconstruction of agriculture's contribution to the Irish economy to highlight its dependence on subsidies. It goes on to query the sustainability of these subsidies to commercial agriculture in the light of WTO agricultural negotiations and EU enlargement and argues that more vigorous steps are now needed to prepare a more competitive agriculture which would be viable at world market prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Matthews, 2001. "How Important is Agriculture and the AgriFood Sector in Ireland?," Trinity Economics Papers 200118, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tcd:tcduee:200118

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan Matthews, 2001. "Has agricultural policy responded to the Rio challenge?," Trinity Economics Papers 200114, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    2. Pretty, J. N. & Brett, C. & Gee, D. & Hine, R. E. & Mason, C. F. & Morison, J. I. L. & Raven, H. & Rayment, M. D. & van der Bijl, G., 2000. "An assessment of the total external costs of UK agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 113-136, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy


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