Bord Bia to roll out number of new schemes ‘as result of changing market demands’

Bord Bia will be introducing a number of new schemes as part of developments taking place “as a result of changing market demands”.

At this morning’s Bord Bia Meat Marketing Seminar, discussion focused on the implications of European policy developments and trends in the global meat market, along with how it is positioning Irish meat for future value growth.

Deirdre Ryan, director of Origin Green and Quality Assurance at Bord Bia, explained how delivering evidence to the market of standards and practices in place is vital for future growth:

In order to service the needs of increasingly discerning consumers and customers, we need to offer proof of the standards we have in place at farm and processing level.

“Bord Bia is committed to working in consultation with industry, farmers, and all stakeholders, to develop ‘proof-points’ to demonstrate our commitment in areas such as the environment, animal welfare and health and nutrition.

“A key example that we have of this activity has been the development of the grass-fed standard for Irish beef, which is now being rolled out across key markets.”

Ryan said that the Meat Processor Quality Assurance Scheme will be replaced by the Sustainable Food Processor Scheme, for food and meat processors. 

Along with this, the Sustainable Poultry Assurance Scheme is due to roll out this year with online training available for producers, and the Sustainable Pigmeat Assurance Scheme is also due to be implemented in 2021.

Opening today’s event, Minister of state with responsibility for market development Martin Heydon said that he commends the sector “for a robust performance in 2020 and its strategic ability to capitalise on growing opportunities in new markets, while maintaining a strong presence in established markets”.

“I look forward to working with Bord Bia on market development and promotion events, including trade missions, to key international and European markets during 2021, with the aim of growing the value of meat exports for the benefit of our farmers and industry.”

Sector performance

Bord Bia’s sector managers also presented the performance of each sector – beef, sheepmeat, pigmeat and poultry – in 2020, and provided an outlook for 2021.

Joe Burke, Bord Bia senior manager for beef and livestock, said: “In a difficult year, significant challenges were weathered by the beef sector, poultry experienced volume increases but values declined and, more positively, strong value growth was recorded for both pigmeat and sheepmeat.

The overall value of primary meat and livestock exports increased by 2% to €3.4 billion last year. International markets performed well in 2020 with significant growth recorded for beef, sheepmeat and poultry exports to non-EU markets, while China is now our largest market for pigmeat with record exports last year.

“For beef farmers, 2020 saw a marginal rise on cattle prices with an average of €3.63/kg for R3 steers. This was below the UK average of €4.01, but ahead of the EU young bull average of €3.54/kg.

“Sheep farmers experienced positive trading conditions, with average lamb and hogget prices up 48c on 2019, at €5.24/kg, while pigmeat producers were direct beneficiaries of strong international demand during the first half of the year in particular, as prices held at record highs.”

Success of diversification ‘evident’ in Bord Bia 2020 export performance report

This week, Bord Bia published its Export Performance and Prospects Report 2020/2021. It indicated that exports of Irish food, drink and horticulture produce were held to an unexpectedly small decrease of 2% in 2020, valued at a total of some €13 billion.

According to Bord Bia, this figure indicates that the ‘diversification dividend’ from opening and expanding access to new markets “is evident”. Ireland now exports agri-food and horticultural food produce to 180 countries.

The food marketing authority said that increases have been recorded in the value of Irish dairy, pigmeat and sheepmeat exports, along with very significant increases in the value of exports to Africa and the Middle East as new international markets “come to the fore”.

In 2020, Ireland’s agri-food export markets can be grouped in thirds: one-third of exports went to the UK; (just over) one-third went to the EU27 (not including the UK); and one-third went to international markets outside the EU (third countries).