Ireland has secured access for exports of pigmeat to Malaysia, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has announced.

Minister McConalogue said this morning (Wednesday, November 23) that trade in Irish pigmeat can commence immediately with the southeast Asian country.

“The opening of the market comes as a result of my department’s work in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland in [Malaysia’s capital city] Kuala Lumpur, Bord Bia, and other industry stakeholders,” the minister commented.

“Securing access to the Malaysian market has been a priority for my department for several years. Credit is due in particular to Ambassador Hilary Reilly and her team in the Kuala Lumpur Embassy for their contribution.

The minister added: “I hope the opening of a crucial and strategic market such as this will help drive greater levels of competition in the market which, in turn, should drive improved returns to farmers.”

Minister McConalogue said that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is currently planning the trade mission agenda for 2023.

“I hope that this will include a mission to Malaysia to build on this important market access achievement,” he commented.

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic country with a population of almost 33 million. There is a sizeable consumer market for pork, and imports account for around 6% to 7% of total pigmeat consumption in the country.

The average Malaysian person consumes around 17kg of pork annually.

Minister of State Martin Heydon, who has responsibility for new market development, commented: “Food Vision 2030 sets out our ambition to gain and maintain market access to priority international markets.”

Minister Heydon is the chairperson of the Pig Roundtable, a forum of stakeholders in the pig sector.

“I am conscious that this is particularly important to the pigmeat sector. Trade to international markets outside [the EU] was worth €365 million, or almost 40% of the total value of Irish pigmeat exports, in 2021.

“I know that this has been a challenging period for the sector, but in addition to the support packages that have been provided, we will continue to develop more trade opportunities which are essential to underpin its future development,” Minister Heydon added.