IFA National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods said the live exports trade has performed very positively in 2018 with exports up 25% to 154,650 head.
He said the latest developments on Turkey, clearing the way for private business on live exports, are very positive and should see a strong boost to the trade for the second half of the year. This follows an IFA and Bord Bia visit to the Turkish market late last year.
Angus Woods said it was very clear from the IFA-Bord Bia visit that there is major potential to grow live exports to Turkey. During the trip, IFA met with various Government agencies including the Turkish Meat and Milk Board, ESK, and with a number of private buyers who indicated a strong wish to buy Irish livestock.
The IFA livestock leader said some exporters have already commenced assembling stock under the necessary quarantine arrangements for export to Turkey.
To date this year, more than 8,920 animals have been exported to international markets, the majority to Turkey. A small level of exports have also gone to Libya and Morocco. Angus Woods said there is also potential to export to Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
A recent Bord bia visit to Tunisia reported that the Government has given approval for live exports to resume for the first time since 2015. There is a demand to import quality weanlings from Ireland with the specification between 6 to 12 months of age and up to 400kgs.
Live exports to May 20th totalled 154,650 head compared to 123,505 this time last year. The vast majority of exports are calves at 128,700 head and 25,950 adult animals.
Angus Woods said IFA is very supportive of the live export trade which he described as a key driver of competition and provider of essential market outlets.
On payments, Angus Woods said farmers should make sure that their payments are secured and sell through their local registered livestock mart.