‘NI’s approval to export pork to China could be worth in excess of £10 million’

Northern Ireland’s final approval to export pork to China could be worth in excess of £10 million (€11 million) to the local agri-food industry, according to the North’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey.

He made the comments as he welcomed the announcement of the approval, which was made by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) earlier today.

This welcome news follows concerted efforts by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) over time working closely with DEFRA, he said.

“Ministerial visits to China by former Agriculture Ministers, O’Neill and McIlveen, in support of our industry were an essential element of this success story.

Likewise, continued representation in Beijing by the Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in China has contributed significantly in ensuring that Northern Ireland agri-food trade objectives are kept to the fore in China.

“We are also indebted to Madam Wang, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Belfast for her support.

“This joined up approach between government, industry and key stakeholders is central to this announcement today,” Huey said.

The new UK export deal with China will bring a £200 million (€220.2 million) boost to the UK food industry and support 1,500 jobs, according to DEFRA.

In Northern Ireland, two slaughterhouses and two cold stores have now been given the green light to export pork.

The commencement of pork exports to China – including exports of trotters – will represent a major boost for the local pork industry, Huey explained.

“It will expand markets and secure jobs. By recommending approval for Northern Ireland, the Chinese authorities have recognised the rigorous standards we have in place to produce our high-quality, safe and wholesome pork.

We place a clear emphasis on traceability at the heart of our production and processing and recognise that a joined up, safe and efficient food supply is essential.

“This approval to export pork represents a tangible outcome in DAERA’s long-term engagement strategy with China and also represents achievement in securing access to one of the primary new markets outlined in the Going for Growth initiative,” he concluded.