Chinese export approval ‘irrelevant’ unless farmers see actual benefits

The recent announcement that an additional three beef plants have been approved by Chinese authorities for their market has been cautiously welcomed by the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

However, ICMSA Livestock Committee chairperson Des Morrison stressed that unless the opening-up and development of the Chinese market resulted in a speedy and marked improvement in the beef price received by farmers, the whole project would become irrelevant and “no more than a marketing exercise“.

The ICMSA officer was reacting to the news that ABP Nenagh, Kepak Clonee and Dawn Meats Charleville all got the green light to export to China.

Morrison said that farmers are happy to recognise the skill and dedication of Ireland’s negotiators and the energy being brought to the problem of sourcing and winning new markets to offset the threat to our traditional British markets.

However, he noted that too often in the past new markets had been won and opened up with any benefits accruing seeming to flow exclusively to the exporting factories.

None of this improvement was apparent in the prices paid to the people who actually produced the beef, he contended.

The Livestock Committee chairperson said that the actual benefit of the work done in opening up the Chinese market would and should only be judged in light of the positive results it brings to the farmers – not overall trade statistics or marketing reports.