The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) will have a major presence at this year’s NSA Sheep Northern Ireland event, taking place in Ballymena Mart on Monday, July 3.
The organisation’s stand will focus on the specific benefits which the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (FQAS) has delivered for the local sheep sector.
“This year marks the 25th anniversary of FQAS,” confirmed LMC’s Daryl McLaughlin.
“The scheme is universally recognised as a measure that has brought great benefit to both the beef and sheep sectors in Northern Ireland.
“Fundamentally, it has succeeded in giving consumers total confidence in the quality, traceability and heritage of the beef and lamb they are buying.
“And it continues to resonate at farm level. The number of producers participating in the scheme continues to grow.”
Mr McLaughlin said that there remains scope for increasing numbers of sheep producers in Northern Ireland to become FQAS accredited.
“Flockowners attending the upcoming NSA event can secure the advice they need, in this regard, from the LMC staff in attendance,” he said.
“Separate accreditation is required for farmers producing both beef and lamb.”
Mr McLaughlin said that FQAS is the quality benchmark that will be recognised as the norm in the context of trade deals entered into by the UK, once Brexit becomes a reality, adding:
“At an industry level, the biggest benefit delivered by FQAS has been its role in allowing local redmeat processers to present a positive and verifiable offering to secure new export markets and supply the critically important retail and food service market in the UK. And this continues to be the case.
“Following its official launch in 1992, FQAS was a key driver in delivering market access throughout Europe for Northern Irish beef and lamb.”
Mr McLaughlin believes that FQAS will play an equally important role moving forward.
“Today, it represents a pivotal assurance scheme for buyers in those export markets within which we are currently active. Finding additional export markets for Northern Ireland’s beef and lamb output will be a fundamental requirement post-Brexit. And, again, FQAS will be the key factor in making all of this happen.”
LMC will be on Stand 43 at NSA Sheep Northern Ireland.
For further information, contact LMC on (028) 9263 3000.