NI industry at the heart of debate

LMC CEO Ian Stevenson.
LMC CEO Ian Stevenson.

Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) chairman Gerard McGivern and the organisation’s chief executive, Ian Stevenson, have recently returned from the 2018 World Meat Congress (WMC) in Dallas Texas.

Stevenson said the event had provided an excellent opportunity for both to engage with likeminded professionals from around the world.

Gerard McGivern. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Gerard McGivern. Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

He added: “Our attendance affirmed that there is more that unites us globally in championing the meat industry than separates us.”

The WMC is hosted every two years by the International Meat Secretariat (IMS) of which LMC is a member.

Based on the theme of ‘Trusting in Trade,’ this year’s event brought together beef, pork, lamb and veal industry leaders including producers, processors, exporters, marketing specialists, policy analysts, economists and meat scientists, to share ideas and experiences on key issues affecting the international meat and livestock sector.

Reflecting on his visit, McGivern said: “With some 48 countries represented, the WMC attracted almost 800 industry leaders to discuss and debate a wide range of common issues facing the global red meat sector.

These included animal welfare, climate change and the environment, emergence of synthetic ‘meats,’ technology and innovation, food security genomics and ever-changing consumer trends.

“In an era of growing protectionism and nationalism, delegates were united in the desire of the red meat industry to show leadership and determination to promote global co-operation and to feed the world through global free trade.”

Stevenson commented: “A hugely significant development that took place at the same time as the 2018 WMC was President Trump’s announcement that trade tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico were to be imposed by the US. This created a very interesting backdrop for the most high profile speaker, Sonny Perdue, US Secretary of Agriculture. In his address, Mr Perdue reflected on the monumental challenges facing the world and the noble cause of freeing the world of food insecurity.”

He continued: “As the world’s largest producer of beef, and the fourth largest consumer of beef per capita, the US was an excellent host venue for the 2018 congress.

“We heard from international market analysts who said that the outlook for the global beef sector can be positive and confident. However, they warned that we must be wary of potential disruptors such as Chinese domestic supply, Indian buffalo meat, the rise of alternative meats and a challenging regulatory environment.

“We also heard that the global consumption of sheep meat is rising but most demand growth is coming from developing countries and we must be alive to the possible disruptive effects of Brexit uncertainties, China domestic supply and volatile import demand, regulatory burden and trade disruption.”