IFA President Eddie Downey said the announcements from the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and the Government on access to new beef markets to the US and China must be turned into real delivery and increased exports.
Eddie Downey was reacting to the latest CSO figures which show that Ireland has exported only 31 tonnes of beef to the US since the ban was lifted in January.
The IFA President said, “There was great fanfare when the announcement was made in January, but the follow-up has to be done. Minister Coveney needs to take action on removing the technical obstacles holding back exports to these new markets in order to deal with increased cattle numbers in the pipeline for 2017, and to prevent a repeat of the severe beef price and income problems of 2014. He said there must be real delivery on getting access to new markets”.
Eddie Downey said it was very clear from the most recent Beef Forum meeting that a lot more work needs to be done in getting more beef plants approved for export to the US. “The Forum was told that Ireland is still working on clearance for manufacturing beef exports to the US, with Minister Coveney saying he is confident of delivering access for manufacturing beef to the US in the next number of months.”
Eddie Downey said Minister Coveney also needs to make progress on a number of other important beef issues including increasing the age limit for prime cattle from 30 to 36 months, increased monitoring of carcase trim at the meat plants, more live exports, market transparency, and using the Department AIMS system to count relevant residencies.