UFU meets to discuss red meat exports with local politicians

Left to right:  is David Simpson (MP), Ian Buchannan, (UFU hill farming chairman), Ivor Ferguson (UFU deputy president), Crosby Cleland, (UFU beef and lamb chairman) and William Irwin (MLA)
Left to right: is David Simpson (MP), Ian Buchannan, (UFU hill farming chairman), Ivor Ferguson (UFU deputy president), Crosby Cleland, (UFU beef and lamb chairman) and William Irwin (MLA)

The Ulster Farmers’ Union livestock office bearers met with David Simpson MP and William Irwin MLA this week to discuss red meat exports.

The UFU has also met recently with NIMEA, LMC and DARD to discuss this matter.

The beef and sheep industry continues to experience difficulties with the weak Euro and the Russian ban on imports having a significant impact on the UK trade.

The UFU maintains that opening new export markets outside of Europe is crucial to help absorb any oversupply and help add financial value to red meat produce.

Commenting after the meetings UFU Deputy President Ivor Ferguson said: “Access to new markets is a priority for the Union, but we’re not convinced that the DARD and DEFRA Minister are allocating enough resource to speed up progress with our export targets.

“There are considerable opportunities across the globe which we are not able to take advantage of yet and we have asked our local MPs and MLAs to prioritise this matter in both Westminster and the NI Assembly.”

Speaking after a meeting, DUP MP David Simpson said: “As a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee it was a pleasure to meet with a delegation from the Ulster Farmers’ Union to discuss the need for greater DEFRA support to gain crucial access to lucrative export markets.

“It is vitally important that in particular the beef, sheep and pork markets are identified and opened to help boost farm gate prices. I will be meeting with the DEFRA Minister in the coming weeks to discuss this matter but also wider issues facing the red meat sector - as well as to stress the need to ensure that retailers back British product.”

DUP MLA William Irwin commented:“DARD has an extremely important role and responsibility to deliver for agriculture, and obtaining export certificates should be a key priority.

“I would call upon the DARD Minister to fully recognise the importance of opening new markets by directing additional resources towards this area of work.

“I do know that DARD staff have been working tirelessly with DEFRA and third countries to gain certification but given the particular challenges facing all sectors this work should be given additional support as a matter of urgency.”