Chairman of IFA Pigs Committee, Tom Hogan has welcomed the recent agreement on trade between the EU and Mexico.
He said Mexico had a deficit trade balance of 620,000 tonnes of pork and ham in 2016. While there has been some recovery in domestic production in Mexico after severe outbreaks of PED (Blue ear pneumonia) in 2014, domestic consumption is recorded up 4% year-on-year, and Mexico is and will remain an important global importer of premium pigmeat.
Tom Hogan called on export processors, with the assistance of Bord Bia, to explore Mexico along with any other opportunities to secure access for Irish pigmeat to premium markets that recognise the high standards to which Irish pig farmers produce.
The new trade agreement announced last weekend, as part of an overall EU-Mexico global agreement not yet finalised, will see the immediate removal of 99% of tariffs imposed by Mexico on EU pigment, opening the door for Irish and EU exporters of pigmeat to sell in another market.
“Mexico has significant demand for high quality hams and this presents an opportunity for the Irish processing sector to increase their global customer base, which is so important to an exporting country such as Ireland, particularly while the potential Brexit timebomb is ticking away,” Tom Hogan said.
He warned pig factories that in order to take advantage of this new market, they must be cognisant of the financial realities of pig farming and increase the Irish pig price to farmers immediately. “Irish pig farmers have produced pigs since mid-January at below the cost of production, and all cash reserves built up during a few good pig price months in summer 2017 are long depleted. Without a sustainable price for the farmer, there will be no pig industry left to applaud the opening of new market opportunities such as the Mexican market,” Tom Hogan said.