Chinese approval ‘will prove futile without return for producers’

The Beef Plan Movement has become the latest group to respond to the news that approval has been granted to 14 Irish beef plants for exporting to China.

The group welcomed the development, saying it “can only be viewed as a positive”.

However, the Beef Plan Movement warned that it will “prove futile” if there is no financial return to farmers off the back of the approval.

The Beef Plan Movement welcomes the approval of 14 new Irish meat processing facilities… Investment by Bord Bia and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has delivered access to new markets and further expansion of the market into China can only be viewed as a positive.

“This is in much need in a time of Brexit uncertainty,” Beef Plan spokesperson Dermot O’Brien said in a statement.

However, he added: “This in turn must reflect a return in dividend to the Irish exchequer via the primary producer… Without this return to the primary producer, this investment will prove futile.”

O’Brien went on: “Everyone in the supply chain must remain viable and sustainable or the supply chain will not function. Significant pressure on primary producers has been evident through price decreases in the past 12 months.

The Beef Plan Movement would request that MII [Meat Industry Ireland] ensures that its members can honour its supply contracts to the Chinese market. An equitable return must manifest itself to all producers.

O’Brien ended his statement by commending Minister Michael Creed “on his achievement to date in developing the Chinese market”.

Speaking earlier today, Minister Creed said that the approval from the Chinese authorities was “the strongest endorsement possible of Irish food safety standards”.

“We were the first country in western Europe to achieve access to the Chinese market and now it is clear that our plants are meeting the high and exacting standards of the Chinese authorities,” the minister added.