The veterinary certificate negotiated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for fattening cattle for live export to Egypt is good news for the livestock sector.

This is according to the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) National Livestock Chairman, Angus Woods. The certificate also increases the possibility of a resumption of exports.

The IFA has been working on getting the health certificate on live cattle to Egypt extended to cover fattening cattle for some time, Woods added.

Since the original veterinary certificate for slaughter-ready cattle was agreed back in February 2016, no shipments have been made – but this new development now increases the possibilities, he said.

Woods outlined that quarantine remains an issue for live exports to Egypt; the length and costs involved are excessive, he said.

The IFA’s National Livestock Chairman has called upon the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, to include a visit to Egypt – focusing on live cattle exports – in his autumn schedule.

This would be very important in terms of the efforts needed to get the trade resumed, Woods said.

He added that the live export trade is performing very well this year, with 141,641 head of stock exported – up 44% on 2016 levels.

The IFA has worked hard on the live export trade; it pushed for “a major reduction” in the costs on calf exports. The farm organisation has also campaigned for the clearance of more designated boats and negotiated on access issues for other key markets, Woods concluded.

Earlier this year, live export trade opportunities to Egypt were also top of the agenda in a meeting between the President of the IFA, Joe Healy, and the Egyptian Ambassador, Soha Samir Nashd Gendi.

During this meeting, the ambassador reportedly outlined details of a government project seeking 1 million head of livestock.

The ambassador also explained that Ireland had been prioritised as one of the top countries which Egypt hopes to co-operate with in relation to the project, Healy added.