‘Worthwhile applying for PGI status’ for suckler Irish beef – Hogan

The Irish Government has been advised to take advantage of the strong reputation of Irish beef by once again applying for Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) EU certification by European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan.

Speaking in Dublin earlier today (Friday, March 15), the commissioner said: “I think it is a very good idea to build on the excellent global reputation of quality ‘Irish beef’ and it would be worthwhile applying again for a PGI registration.”

Commissioner Hogan said that such a move would add value in some of Ireland’s main markets and would help distinguish the product against competition.

He said that if Irish farmers could identify “specific products for which Ireland is famous” to spearhead such a proposal, he believes it would have every chance of success.

However, he stressed that such a “quality Irish beef” application could not refer to all beef produced in Ireland as EU quality designations not only take into account provenance and geographical origin but also the reputation and quality of a specific product.

We are therefore talking about beef that is certified from the grass-based suckler system – 100% or 95% grass-haylage-silage; a quality product with cream-yellow fat and the characteristic darker red colour of a true grass-based product.

The commissioner welcomed the news that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has already made moves for such a proposal, having met with DG Agri officials at the start of the month to discuss conditions.

“I believe we should continue down the road of greater market orientation, improving our competitiveness at home while making the most of new opportunities abroad,” he said.

On another front, in relation to Brexit and potential impacts on Irish beef exports, Commissioner Hogan said:

In relation to the UK market, the competition will be unable to fill market demand overnight and consumers in the UK are not going to stop eating high-quality Irish beef overnight either.

He said that the EU has made huge progress in recent years, referencing recent deals struck with Japan, Mexico and developments in relation to a free trade agreement that is being sought with Vietnam.

“Of course, we have to do more to make sure that our farmers truly benefit from these deals.

“That is why the EU recently approved my proposal on new binding rules to outlaw certain unfair trading practices and strengthen the position of the farmer in the food supply chain.”