IRELAND, Dublin. Ireland's Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue can claim success in expanding market access for Irish beef.
According to the Dublin Agriculture Department last Thursday, following a meeting between the minister and representatives of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA
), the department head reached an agreement in Riyadh to lift the current restriction requiring Irish beef exports to the kingdom to come from cattle less than 30 months old. According to the ministry, talks are now still needed to clarify the formalities for confirming expanded market access.
News on sheep and poultry meat
In addition, McConalogue also reached a commitment to working-level talks regarding the export of Irish sheep meat to Saudi Arabia. Finally, he also raised the possibility of market access for Irish poultry meat. Referring to the results, the minister spoke of "welcome news," even though the necessary formal exchange had not yet been completed.
Great potential for Irish exports
He said Ireland's agricultural and food exports to the kingdom reached nearly € 100 mill. last year, with dairy products accounting for the largest share. McConalogue still sees potential in the Saudi market for Irish agricultural products, especially beef. He pointed out that about 70% of the Saudi Arabian population is under 30 years old and has a high demand for quality and a growing interest in the link between health and good, nutritious food. As expected, the Irish Beef & Lamb Association (IBLA) welcomed the pending expansion of market access for cattle. It said the elimination of this "unfair trade practice" had been a demand expressed for many years.
Source: fleischwirtschaft.de; AgE