Live exports: Irish slaughter-weight bulls a step closer to Algerian market

In recent months, there has been a lot of optimism that the Algerian market will become a viable option for live Irish cattle.

Speaking on FarmLand in November last year, Bord Bia’s Joe Burke – the senior manager of meat and livestock at the Irish Food Board – highlighted that Algeria is an option for Irish cattle – particularly for finished bulls and suckler-bred weanlings for further feeding.

But, the lack of movement on this front can be attributed to the health certificate – a joint breeding, slaughter and fattening certificate, which came into force on May 19, 2016.

However, earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine confirmed that the Algerian authorities have agreed to move from a joint breeding, slaughter and fattening certificate to three separate certificates.

As a result, a new certificate for slaughter-weight bulls has been agreed upon between the department and Algerian ministerial authorities, AgriLand understands.

This will see the age limit of 24 months and the quarantine period removed; so, there is no age limit on slaughter-weight cattle.

This is welcome news for Irish exporters as the isolation period can be costly in terms of feed and housing.

Also, under the slaughter-weight health certificate, bulls must be a minimum of 500kg at the time of loading and must have received a preventive treatment against internal and external parasites.

Charolais bulls in Algeria

This will now allow Irish exporters to compete against French and Spanish exporters in the 100,000 head Algerian market which involves the importation of Charolais, Limousin, Saler and Aubrac cattle.

This may also come as a major boost to cattle finishers – many of whom have struggled in recent times. Plus, it could bring some much-needed competition to the finished cattle market if Irish exporters can secure contracts.

This development comes after the Algerian authorities agreed to raise the maximum age of Irish breeding animals from 36 to 42 months.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, is expected to lead a trade mission to the North African country in November, 2019. This follows on from a previous trade mission – which involved Irish exporters – to the country back in November, 2016.