Factories and farmers push for access to export markets

Meat Industry Ireland has urged Agriculture Minister Simony Coveney to push for immediate action at EU level to remove technical restrictions on pig meat exports to Russia.

Meat Industry Ireland has urged Agriculture Minister Simony Coveney to push for immediate action at EU level to remove technical restrictions on pig meat exports to Russia.

Ibec’s meat factory group wants EU Agriculture Ministers to use next Monday’s specially convened Agriculture Council meeting in Brussels to urge the European Commission to urgently engage in technical discussions with the Russian authorities.

Meat Industry Ireland wants EU authorities to urgently resolve Russia’s technical embargo on EU pig meat, imposed in January 2014 due to African swine fever outbreaks in some eastern EU states.

“Progress in this area could have a very positive impact on the EU pig meat market and could quickly lead to resumption of exports of certain pigmeat products which are blocked by these technical restrictions.

“The wider Russian embargo has caused considerable international market disturbance, resulting in increased competition across other key international markets including Japan and the Philippines,” said a spokesman.

The group also notes that the closure of the Russian market to EU exports has also affected the beef market, particularly impacting the sale of manufacturing beef and beef by-product.

Meanwhile, ICMSA livestock chairman Michael Guinan is calling upon the Department of Agriculture to make a determined drive from now to the year end to substantially increase the number of cattle exported live.

He said this would help ensure that cattle supplies remain in farmers’ favour into 2016 and 2017.

To-date live exports are down over 43,000 head on last year’s levels.

The differential between 2014 and 2015 stood at 20,000 at the beginning of May, suggesting significant slippage since then.

With calf and weanling exports down 16,000 head and 8,000 head, and with births up 110,000 head, the ICMSA warns of likely over-supply and falling beef prices.

“If beef producers know one thing for certain, it is that cattle supplies dictate the price they receive from the meat plants.

"The live export trade is the only way to ensure cattle supplies are in the farmers’ favour and that’s exactly why we now need a strong focus on exporting more cattle live.”


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