ICSA WELCOMES ACCESS FOR SHEEPMEAT TO SAUDI ARABIAN MARKET

 2 MARCH 2017

ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has welcomed the news that access to the Saudi Arabian market for Irish sheepmeat has been reinstated. “The lifting of the ban by Saudi authorities on Irish sheepmeat is good news indeed; it’s a step in the right direction and provides more options for Irish sheep farmers.”

Mr Brooks commended Minister Creed for his efforts in the Gulf state in securing enhanced access for Irish beef and sheepmeat. “It’s great to see these efforts pay off and we need further concerted efforts to secure more potentially lucrative markets.”

Focusing on the need for increasing the volume of live exports, Mr Brooks said “As well as exports of sheepmeat we need to focus on the valuable live export trade. We have seen there is a demand as has been evidenced by a recently signed deal that will see 10,000 hoggets flown to the Middle East over the next eight weeks. ICSA has been calling for a joined up approach to maximising the current potential for live exports of sheep. An integrated strategic plan is required to adequately exploit all those markets where at the moment we only scratch the surface. Planning would involve the Department of Agriculture, Teagasc, Bord Bia, live exporters and producers all working together to develop a coordinated approach.”

“Many lucrative emerging markets for live exports require intact lambs, that is lambs which have not been castrated nor had their tails docked. They also need to be trained to eat meal so they travel well. All of this requires strategic planning.”

ICSA believes the current restrictions around the holding standstill period for sheep prior to export continues to frustrate the trade. According to Mr Brooks “These restrictions hamper the practicalities of getting exports moving and need urgent adjustment. Similar barriers to trade do not exist for the live export of cattle, so there can be no justification where sheep are concerned.”

ENDS