‘ASF is opening up market opportunities for us’ – Creed

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed was asked to clarify the precautions being taken by the department to prevent African swine fever (ASF) from entering Ireland, during Dáil proceedings earlier this week. He told those present that the issue in China was, in fact, providing market opportunities for Ireland.

Deputy Michael Collins – on June 25 – pointed out to Minister Creed that the programme for Government promised to work with the pig industry stakeholder group to enhance areas like food safety, quality, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.

He also said that the pigmeat industry had gone through “numerous bad years” and while there was an acceptance that it had “turned a corner” and many pig producers were looking at brighter futures, there was one major concern, however, with regard to ASF.

ASF is sweeping through the pig industry in China and if it were to hit Ireland it would have devastating consequences for the industry.

Collins continued: “What precautions are the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine taking to prevent ASF from entering the country?”

Minister Creed, meanwhile, pointed to his department’s “active engagement” with the stakeholders.

“If one has passed through airports or ports recently they will have seen a greater awareness campaign at points of entry and exit,” he added.

There are reminders to travellers not to bring back food items and, if they do, to dispose of them properly.

Creed went on to say that as a country we were in the fortunate position of being free of ASF which, he added, “is opening up market opportunities for us in the context of the circumstances to which deputy Collins alluded”.

“We have also engaged with the pig industry in creating that awareness among its workforce.

“There is a role for each and every one of us in that regard and the department is working closely with both farm organisations and individual farmers on this matter,” he concluded.