Speaking from the EU Commission Sheep Advisory Meeting in Brussels on May 28, IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman John Lynskey said the market forecast from the EU Commission on the prospects for lamb for 2014 are positive with prices predicted to rise 2.1% and production to fall by 1.8%. He said the view across the EU is that the overall sheep meat market will be stronger this year.
John Lynskey said key factors for the EU lamb market is the strong increase in live exports to Libya and the fall off in New Zealand imports. He said, “EU exports were up 34% in 2013 to the equivalent of 74,000t with live exports to Libya and cuts to Hong Kong the the big growth markets. New Zealand did not fill its quota again and imports from NZ were down 12% during the Jan- March 2014 period. Both these factors are leaving much more promising opportunities for processors on the European market”.
At the EU Commission meeting, the IFA delegation also raised a number of other issues on behalf of Irish sheep farmers including CAP supports for the sheep sector from both Pillar I and Pillar II, additional supports for the hill and marginal areas, the unfair rules denying young farmers access to the 25% SFP top up and the urgent need for greater flexibility and tolerances on inspections and cross compliance requirements in areas such as tagging and EID.
John Lynskey said there was strong support from a large number of countries at the meeting for a UK proposal that there should be no EID requirement at least until the animal leaves the holding of origin.