With around 100 million heads (85% sheep and 14% goats) and a total annual production of about 1 million tonnes carcass weight, the EU is not self-sufficient for this sector.
Sheep and goats are often kept in economically vulnerable areas like mountain regions. Heavy lambs are produced in UK and Ireland, light lambs are reared in southern regions like Greece and Italy in combination with milk production. Production is mixed in Spain and France.
Main goat producers are Greece, Spain, France and Romania.
EU imports account for 20% of the EU’s consumption. About 80% of EU imports of sheep meat originate in New Zealand followed by Australia and Mercosur countries.
EU exports are around 10% of its total production. Where live sheep are traded mostly to the Middle East and North Africa, sheep meat is shipped to the Far East.