Prospects for Irish beef in Asian protein demand – Bord Bia CEO

There is potential in the Asian demand for protein products to boost the fortunes of the Irish beef sector in 2020, according to the CEO of Bord Bia.

Tara McCarthy spoke to AgriLand today at the launch of Bord Bia’s report into ‘Export Performance and Prospects‘ which reviews Ireland’s agri-food exports in 2019.

Although that report highlighted positive figures in a number of areas, exports for beef and sheepmeat saw notable declines.

When asked about the future prospects for beef in 2020, McCarthy commented that the forecasts predicted improvements where exports were concerned – but that the scale and size of these improvement were harder to foresee.

“When you’re looking at the future – and everyone is reluctant to predict the future – we do look at the tends, and we’re looking at what one can expect. The global trend towards protein consumption is a positive one. However, the consumption trends in Europe are stable at best, so there’s a lesson there to watch out for,” the Bord Bia CEO pointed out.

“There is a perspective though that, given ASF [African swine fever], and the challenges that it has presented in Asia, protein may be sucked out of Europe towards the Asian markets,” she added.

McCarthy stressed though that, while pigmeat exports have benefited from this, it remains to be seen to what extent other meat products would share in that.

Last year, that had been very much a sign of what has happened in pigmeat. The big question is will that happen in broader protein, or will that happen just in pigmeat? How will the Chinese manage [and] how will Asia itself manage?

“But forecasts, when you look at them, are very much towards the idea that Asia will suck out more product, will suck out more protein,” she observed.

“The trend forecast is towards a better year for beef. However, the percentage of ‘better’ is not something we could put a figure on,” McCarthy added.