No immediate plans to invite live exporters to Beef Forum meetings

There are no immediate plans to invite live exporters to partake in Beef Forum meetings, according to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony, Minister Creed outlined that no decision has been made to widen representation at the discussions.

Commenting on the matter, the minister said: “The Beef Roundtable was established in April 2014 in order to facilitate open discussion between industry and farming organisations on the strategic path for the beef sector over the coming years.

There have been 11 meetings of the Roundtable, the most recent being on February 6. No decision has been made to widen representation at the Roundtable beyond the original participants.

“While the agenda of the most recent meeting did not include a specific item on live exports, the issue was discussed during the Roundtable,” he said.

Prior to the last meeting of the Beef Roundtable, the president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), Pat McCormack, had expressly called for live exporters to be present at the meeting earlier this month.

He claimed that it had previously been agreed that live exporters would attend future meetings in order to voice their concerns regarding the sector.

Live exports

Meanwhile, in his response to the Fianna Fail TD, Minister Creed outlined recent efforts that have been made to widen live export markets for Irish farmers.

“In the last year I have undertaken several trade missions to facilitate access to new markets and develop existing markets for Irish exports.

Also Read: Changes to Turkish live export rules could benefit Irish farmers

“In the last week of January I – along with officials from my department and Bord Bia, and representatives of Irish live cattle export companies – visited Turkey, which last year was our third largest market for the export of live cattle.

My department and I will continue to place a great importance on the cattle export trade as a means of providing an alternative market outlet for Irish cattle farmers.

“This is very much reflected in the increase in live exports in 2017, with an increase of approximately 45,000 head of cattle or 30% compared to 2016,” he said.