Turkish ban on live cattle imports remains in place

Turkey’s ban on live cattle imports remains in place with no immediate plans to lift the suspension which has already been in place for almost a month.

The suspension was announced last month in a bid to protect the country’s home market as its strong domestic supply of cattle continues to put pressure on price.

Although the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is conducting an analysis of the livestock market in Turkey, there are no imminent plans to start issuing new import licences.

In a statement to AgriLand, Ibrahim Ozkaya, assistant commercial counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in Dublin said: “I regret to inform you that the importation of live animal is still suspended and there is no update so far”.

The Turkish Government has been promoting imports in recent years.

On the back of Turkish cattle buyers taking in about 30,000 head from Ireland in 2017; it was hoped that a target of 50,000 head was achievable by the end of 2018 – however, after the crash of the lira currency last autumn, buying power for live cattle was completely undermined.

Last year, just 13,000 cattle went out to Turkey – the bulk of which travelled during the first half of the year, according to Bord Bia figures.

‘Prolonged suspension’

Joe Burke, sector manager for beef and livestock at Bord Bia previously cautioned that the impasse could continue into late spring.

“Although the current suspension is expected to last from now until the end of February, it has been suggested that it might go on later than that.

“It could be March or April before they start to issue licences for import again,” he said.