The ongoing economic crisis in the European Union has heavily impacted the export of lamb from Iceland. Last year, a mere 11 kilos were exported to Spain—the weight of around four legs of lamb—down from several hundred tons in previous years.
In 2012, a total of 2,457 tons of lamb were exported from Iceland, down from 3,571 tons in 2010—a drop of 1,114 tons. The value of exports decreased from ISK 2.1 billion (USD 16.7 million, EUR 12.2 million) in 2010 to ISK 1.8 billion (USD 14.3 million, EUR 10.5 million) in 2012.
According to Sigurður Eyþórsson, CEO of the National Association of Sheep Farmers, high unemployment and the decrease in purchasing power in Spain has meant a sharp drop in sales to the country. Exports to the U.K. have also dropped significantly, Morgunblaðið reports.
The average price per kilogram also decreased in 2012 by ISK 100 (USD 0.78, EUR 0.57), from ISK 736 to ISK 635 in the year prior. The price cuts can reportedly be traced to the increase in imports of New Zealand lamb to Europe.
Sales to other markets have, however, stood firm or increased.
Norway was the largest market for Icelandic lamb in 2012 in terms of value of exports, totaling ISK 600 million, followed by the U.S.
Sales to Asia and Russia have increased. Sigurður told Morgunblaðið that the free trade agreement with China has helped the situation.
Despite good domestic sales, there is reportedly an accumulation of stock of lamb in Iceland.