15 November 2019
By Mary Bermingham
Beef farmers will have new opportunities to improve their price thanks to significant increases in exports to China, according to Cork Senator Tim Lombard from Fine Gael.
Senator Lombard who is a member of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee was speaking as news emerged from a Government trade mission to China that Irish beef exports to that country will increase tenfold in the next year
He said: “I was pleased to hear my Fine Gael colleague Minister Michael Creed confirm that we have approval of 14 additional beef plants to supply product to the Chinese market, bringing to 21 the total number of Irish plants listed with the General Administration of Customs in China. This should allow for significant new opportunities for beef farmers and I want to see factories reflecting this in the prices given to farmers.
“During his trade mission to China this week, Minister Creed confirmed that Irish beef exports were worth €9 million in 2018 and €21 million in the first 8 months of this year alone. This represents significant growth and it is very encouraging to see reports of further expected growth leading to Irish beef exports to China increasing tenfold in the next year.
“Fine Gael in Government ensured a significant new market for Irish beef framers when we became the first country in Western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market in early 2018. In the short time since then we have built on this achievement and we are working hard to create further opportunities for farmers to increase their price.
“We know that one billion Chinese consumers are turning towards beef and this is where the opportunity lies.
“Currently China is Ireland’s second largest market for pork and dairy, behind the UK. With the UK leaving the EU we would like to see beef progressed in the same way in China, following the successful model we have pursued with pork and dairy.
“As well as the opening of new beef plants, it is great to see the Department of Agriculture working with Bord Bia to market Irish beef in China. Bord Bia have a series of upcoming marketing initiatives aiming to raise awareness of Irish beef among chefs and consumers in an effort to widen and deepen the market penetration of Irish beef and other food products. This will see further opportunities for Irish beef farmers and an improvement in the price that can be achieved.”