The approval of a further 14 beef plants to export to the Chinese market will only be good news if it translates into better prices for farmers, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Commenting on the announcement earlier today, Monday, October 21, that all of the beef plants audited in September have now been approved by the Chinese authorities, ICSA beef chairman Edmund Graham said:

“We know the Chinese market is an important one – but we need to see the primary producers benefitting from it,” he said.

It’s not good enough to expect the producer to simply produce more for no extra gain while others reap all the rewards.

“It should also be acknowledged that despite heated tempers during the blockades, factory visits by the Chinese delegation were ultimately facilitated by protesting farmers, and this is the outcome,” the chairman added.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed took to social media earlier today to announce the approval of the additional factories.

“There are now no outstanding plant applications. Well done to all of the Department of Agriculture Market Access Team,” the minister added.

Ireland gained access to the Chinese beef market in April 2018; the latest approvals mean that 21 beef plants are now approved to export to China, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

China is currently Ireland’s fifth biggest market for agri-food exports and has grown significantly over the years