Northern Ireland pork and beef producers have been given a huge boost to start 2016 with confirmation that trading has started with two international markets - India and Canada.
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced that India and Canada will soon savour the high quality pork and beef produced in Northern Ireland.
The Minister stated: “I am delighted that our agri-food industry has began trading with two of the vital new markets we established in 2015. Firstly we secured agreement with the Indian authorities to export our high quality pork and I was pleased to note that the first shipment arrived in port at the end of December. Our beef sector is also preparing to trade with the newly opened Canadian market. India is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world while accessing the established Canadian market is of great importance to our beef exporters.”
The Minister continued: “Entering these new important markets marks a great start to exports in 2016. I am delighted that industry is taking advantage of these important opportunities we have been able to secure. I anticipate that this trend will continue and I expect further uplifts in exports when final approval to export pork to China is secured.”
Illustrating the ongoing work within the Department to access a range of further new market opportunities for the local agri-food sector, the Minister said: “In order to build on our successes to date, we are working closely with the industry to ensure readiness for inward inspections to access the US and Philippine markets for beef and Australia for pork. I am also hoping that negotiations will advance this year on extending our export agreements with China to cover poultry meat and beef. I, and my officials, continue to work closely with our vital agri-food industry going forward to meet the requirements to export and identify further priority markets.”
Concluding Minister O’Neill added: “Accessing new markets for agri-food exports from the north remains one of my key priorities. I trust that our Industry will avail of the many markets we have already secured as we strive to open more as I am sure this will help them achieve the ambitious growth aspirations set out in the Agri-Food Strategy, Going for Growth. Trading with new countries, I hope, will also help to mitigate the negative impacts of price volatility and exchange rate fluctuations our industry have faced. Finally, I hope that the benefits of these new markets will spread across the supply chain.”