Agri minister confirms new ‘priority’ markets for Irish meat

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed has confirmed that new markets have been identified for Irish meat as the country gets set for a no-deal Brexit.

Meanwhile, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan announced this morning, Tuesday, April 9, that in the event of a no-deal scenario, the EU Commission will intervene to support European farmers.

He pointed out that the support package will include a mix of measures including private storage aid; withdrawal schemes; and adjustment aid.

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister Creed pointed to the five new ‘priority’ markets identified – Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea and Vietnam.

A very similar list of countries emerged in respect of dairy but with the inclusion of Indonesia instead of Mexico.

Creed continued: “New priority markets have also been identified for beverages, prepared consumer foods and seafood. China was not considered as it was believed that a very significant level of market intelligence and information on the market was already available.

“Nonetheless it remains a priority market for the meat and dairy sectors in particular.”

‘Hugely exposed’

The minister went on to say that as well as beef, seafood was another sector that is “hugely exposed” to the consequences of Brexit, both in terms of access to resources and to destination markets.

His department, he added, provided an additional €2 million in funding in 2019, matching what was received in 2018 under the European maritime fisheries fund operational programme.

During his speech the minister told the Dáil that because live exports were part of the overall export dynamic and “provide a critically important alternative market for Irish farmers” the volume of live exports have increased by 30% in 2018.

He also pointed to the fact that just last month he visited Turkey “to make it clear that Ireland can continue to supply quality livestock for the Turkish market”.

My department currently has agriculture attachés based in London, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Geneva, Washington, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.

Creed continued: “These officers play a significant role in developing our relationships with governments and official agencies in these countries. The decision to place an attaché in Berlin is informed by the need to diversify our export markets from the UK.

At the heart of the matter

“Berlin will provide a basis to support further trade development work, not only in Germany but also in eastern Europe.”

He said the positions in Tokyo, Seoul and Mexico city are there to assist in the process of gaining access for Irish agriculture products given that free trade agreements have recently been agreed by Japan, Korea and Mexico with the European Union.

“They also reflect the outcome of Bord Bia’s market prioritisation report, which has identified these countries among the priority markets for the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors over the coming years,” the minister concluded.