The Irish Beef & Lamb Association (IBLA) has welcomed Minister McConalogue’s announcement concerning the signing of protocols to pave the way forward for sheepmeat and pig exports to China.
The farm group has described the move as a “very welcome development for both sectors”.
Sheepmeat to China
In a statement to That’s Farming, a spokesperson for the IBLA said:
“We must remember the foresight shown by farmers, who stood down protests to facilitate the inspection process of meats plants during the difficult days of 2019.”
“This goodwill shown by farmers at that time must now be turned into a collaborative approach by the processing industry, that sees an end to usual tactics of price pulling, such as the pulling of lamb prices in the recent past and refusal to give quotes.”
“Prices paid to primary producers in other EU member states are higher than the prices being quoted in Ireland for lambs.”
The IBLA said Ireland has a “large” market opening up to the sector.
Therefore, the processing industry has an “opportunity to collaborate with primary producers and show a sustainable and viable path forward for all to ensure full benefit from these new markets opening up”.
“We also encourage the DAFM to pull out all the stops and to ensure that no time is lost to converting the agreed protocols onto meat sales that benefit primary producers and processors,” the spokesperson concluded.
China accounts for 38% of the global sheepmeat import market. In 2020, China’s sheepmeat imports amounted to 365,000 tonnes and were valued at €1.47bn at current exchange rates.
Imports account for 8% of total sheep meat consumed in China, and the supply gap is growing annually.
Average prices for imported sheep meat in China have more than doubled over the last decade. Furthermore, import prices in the first half of 2021 reached a record high, averaging €4.66/kg.