Strong live export trade a 'priority'

ICMSA calls for political will to address market dominance

Strong live export trade a 'priority'

Tipp ICMSA is targetting live exports and Grid reform as 2016 beef sector priorities.

The creation of a strong live export trade must become a real political priority if we are to address the dominance of the meat processors and provide Irish farmers with an alternative outlet for cattle of all ages at a realistic price, according to Tipp ICMSA chair Seamus Troy.

Speaking following the Bord Bia / Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Seminar on live exports, the Thurles farmer said that as we faced into a year when livestock numbers will increase.

“We have to see a renewed and energetic drive to open more markets to Irish live cattle in Europe and we’d be looking at Turkey, specifically, as providing a reasonable opportunity.

“Both France and Germany have individual trade positions defined with Turkey through EU trade agreements and it is time for the Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine to intervene directly in a similar fashion and deliver what could be a very lucrative market.

“Our EU counterparts have access to this market and we have to be entitled to the same arrangements.

“Clearly, the north African market was hugely important in the past and we need to continue to seek outlets there for Irish cattle and the anti-competitive block on Irish cattle being exported live to the UK market will have to be faced up and addressed once and for all”, he said

“Live exports set the floor price for all types of cattle and, with the increased numbers we’re going to see in 2016, we just have to see more cattle exported live.

“ Live exports in 2015 were down on 2014 levels by almost a quarter. In total, only 177,000 live animals were exported in 2015 and this needs to increase substantially in 2016.”The responsible agencies are going to have to focus strongly and keep that focus for the foreseeable future.”We have to see progress on this and also the promised review and reformulation of the widely unpopular and distrusted QPS Grid if we’re to give the sector the stability it will need in the coming year”, he said.