Preparations are already underway to send the first consignment of pork from Northern Ireland to China.
The move follows the announcement that China’s certification agency, the CNCA, has given the green light for trade to commence following approval of both Karro Food Group in Cookstown and Cranswick Country Foods in Ballymena.
Deirdre McIvor, Chief Executive of NI Pork & Bacon Forum, said: “This is an exciting and important development for the pig farming industry in Northern Ireland as the potential for growth in this market is vast and it contributes significantly to achieving carcase balance.
“The local pig farming industry makes a significant contribution to the agri-sector in Northern Ireland sustaining 400 farming families and 2,000 local jobs. This Chinese approval is the culmination of years of collective support and work from stakeholders throughout the sector.
“In particular I would acknowledge Perpetua McNamee, Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, and her team in DAERA. Our industry looks forward to developing this new relationship with China, which has the potential to not only secure jobs and employment across Northern Ireland, but also to enhance opportunities across the sector. ”