Potential of Ireland’s live export sector is ‘not being realised’

It has been said that the potential of Ireland’s live export sector is not being realised and that there is scope to further grow the amount of live cattle exported annually.

The comments come from the chairperson of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association’s (ICMSA) Livestock Committee, Des Morrison, following a meeting with Bord Bia yesterday, Tuesday, January 8.

Morrison continued: “It could not change until the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine take a specific policy decision to drive the trade through the bureaucratic and administrative obstacles that still hamper its development.

The ICMSA has always stressed that we need a flourishing live export trade to keep the processors keen and give livestock producers a real competitive option in selling on the market.

The livestock chairperson acknowledged that markets could not be opened “with the wave of a wand,” but added: “It is not unreasonable to expect the various agencies involved to come together and really co-ordinate efforts towards robustly ramping-up the live export numbers.

Where our beef sector is now, with farmer prices at very low levels, does anyone doubt that we have to really focus on our live exports?

Continuing, Morrison called for “a dedicated cross-agency group from agriculture, transport, foreign affairs, vets, live exporters and hauliers.”

He stressed that the cross-agency must have “one remit and one remit only: Get our live export numbers up by ruthlessly identifying what the obstacles are and then removing them”.

Concluding, Morrison added: “The ICMSA does not understand why this hasn’t happened because there is definitely scope to grow live exports to north African and European markets.”