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‘Sheds or fields full of cattle that do not provide any return are no longer acceptable’

The resumption of Irish beef exports to China has been welcomed by the Irish Beef & Lamb Association – IBLA.

Earlier this week, Minister McConalogue confirmed that Irish beef has regained access to China following a suspension enforced in May 2020 arising from an isolated case of atypical BSE.

Irish beef exports to China were immediately suspended as a precautionary measure in line with the bilateral protocol on the trade agreed with the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC).

Following the granting of access in 2018, Irish beef exports to China were on a “sharp upward trajectory”, rising from just over €2 million in 2018 to almost €40 million in 2019, the last full year of trade.

In 2020, beef exports were “on track to far exceed 2019 levels”, according to Bord Bia’s China manager, Conor O’Sullivan.

IBLA comments

A spokesperson for the Irish Beef & Lamb Association – IBLA, said the group “commends” Minister McConalogue and his officials on their work and progress to secure the reopening of the Chinese market.

They commented: “It is now an opportunity for the Irish meat processing industry to put forward contracts in place to allow farmers to plan for the future.”

“With increased access to markets being delivered by Bord Bia, there is no excuse for the meat processors not to take a collaborative approach in the supply chain and insulate all primary producers from risk.”

“The penny has dropped with farmers, that sheds or fields full of cattle that do not provide any return are no longer acceptable.

The spokesperson added that the supply and demand concept has “finally clicked” with farmers.

“Cut the supply, and the demand increases and, in turn, the price of beef went up,” they added.

“We do not need to supply livestock to an industry that takes all the cream. Without farmers contracted to supply, this new market in China will be windmills with no breeze,” the spokesperson claimed.

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