Coveney looks to China for beef exports

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney is leading an ‘agri-food’ trade delegation from Ireland to China in six weeks’ time, where he hopes to secure markets for Irish beef.

Speaking on Day Two of the National Ploughing Championships, he said that his aim is to secure a foothold in China for Irish beef exports. We already export cattle hides to that market. “So I am hopeful that the attainment of full entry into that country with value added beef products is attainable. Another boost for the livestock sector is the imminent entry of Irish beef on to the US market.

“This will be the first time in 16 years that beef from Europe has be sold in the US. And it is appropriate that Ireland is leading this charge.”

The Minister went on admit that the beef sector has been coping with a number of fundamental challenges over recent months.

“We must learn from this and it is my intention to drive major reform within the sector over the next two years. One of the key issues that must be tackled is the weak selling position that beef producers find themselves in when it comes to dealing with the meat plants,” he said.

Looking to the future, Simon Coveney expressed confidence regarding the prospects for agri food in Ireland. “Yes there are short term problems facing the sector. I know that grain and beef prices are extremely disappointing at the present time. But the medium- and long-term prospects for agriculture in this country remain extremely encouraging.

“Farming and food combined represent Ireland’s largest industry. Milk quotas end in six months’ time. This will represent a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow our dairy output and to generate many new jobs within the processing sector. Government fully recognises the opportunities that are ahead and we will do everything possible to ensure that these are fully availed of.”