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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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BSE in Brazil: ‘A chance’ for Ireland to gain a foothold in beef market

Brazil’s decisions to halt beef exports to China, following the discovery of two atypical BSE cases, presents a “huge opportunity” for Ireland.

That is according to IFA president, Tim Cullinan, who has called for the immediate resumption of Irish beef exports to China.

The cases were confirmed on Friday, September 3rd, 2021 after samples were sent to the World Organisation for Animal Health lab in Alberta in Canada.

As a result of these cases in Mato Grosso and Minas Gerais, the country has suspended beef exports to China, which, along with Hong Kong, buys more than half of its beef.

Speaking this morning (Monday, September 6th, 2021), the IFA leader, said:

“The Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and the government must now redouble their efforts to secure an immediate return of Irish beef to the Chinese market,” he said.

“We should be making the most of this decision by Brazil. It’s a chance to gain a foothold in a market where demand is growing for quality food,” he said.

Brazil exported close to 400,000 tonnes of beef to China in the first six months of this year.

Chinese market for Irish beef

IFA livestock chairman, Brendan Golden, said the Chinese market for Irish beef for the first six months of 2020 had grown in value by over 60% to €22.5m, compared to the previous year.

“This is a clear indication of the strength of demand and potential for Irish beef exports.”

“There is a huge demand for beef in China.  It’s critical that Irish farmers, who produce to the most exacting standards in the world, are in a position to avail of this,” he said.

Furthermore, the livestock chairman said the government cannot let the opportunity pass and must immediately secure the return of access for Irish beef to this strong and growing market.

Furthermore, in May, the OIE granted Ireland with a negligible risk status for BSE.

Minister McConalogue hailed this “as a ringing endorsement of Ireland’s robust animal health, food and feed safety controls”.

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