Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
178. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the work his Department has done to open new markets with stakeholders in the pig farming industry; if he has met with relevant stakeholders on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22540/21]
Increasing international market access for Irish agri-food exports is a core element of the current Food Wise strategy, which recognises that market access and development is essential to add value to the meat sector in particular. The market development part of the strategy is being implemented by a seven-point action plan launched in April 2017.
In relation to pigmeat specifically, the work of my Department is focused not only on the development of new pigmeat markets but also on enhancing and retaining access to existing international markets. For example, in May 2020, the Mexican market was opened for raw frozen pigmeat; which was the successful culmination of engagement with internal and external stakeholders over several years. Priority markets are agreed with Industry each year and quarterly meeting are held to update against these priorities.
The success of our pigmeat market access is reflected in the CSO trade statistics which show that Ireland exports pigmeat to some 60 countries with the top five destinations of the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Denmark and Germany. Cumulatively, these five destinations accounted for some 80% of pigmeat exports in volume terms in 2020. The value of pigmeat exports have also increased by almost 12% since 2017 with volumes remaining largely stable and averaging 278.000 tonnes annually over the same period.
My Department continues to engage with all relevant stakeholders. My colleague Minister of State Martin Heydon T.D. chaired the newly established pig roundtable which held its inaugural meeting on 28 April. The aim of the roundtable is to facilitate and encourage constructive stakeholder engagement in progressing the development of the sector. The roundtable will meet quarterly to progress relevant actions set out in the Programme for Government. Membership of the group includes representatives from the farming and processing sectors, Teagasc, Bord Bia, and my own Department.
Further detail on my Department’s initiatives on opening and developing overseas outlets for the agri-food sector can be found in the Market Access Report which can be accessed at following link:
The Market Access Portal on my Department's website provides details on the full range of open markets and the relevant certification conditions negotiated with importing countries for a wide range of agri-food product categories.