IFA National Livestock Chairman Henry Burns said there is a real opportunity now for Ireland to open the live export market to Turkey and he called on the Minister for Agriculture to prioritise the negotiations in agreeing the access arrangements with the Turkish authorities.
He said IFA has been working on live exports to Turkey for some time and this needs to be intensified at Ministerial level.
Henry Burns said the opportunities in Turkey are very considerable. Turkey imported a total of 380,000 head of live cattle in 2015, the majority from South America. France exported over 120,000 head to the Turkish market in 2015.
He said, “Turkey is a high-priced beef market and is capable of being a substantial and competitive buyer of Irish livestock. Turkish importers have indicated to IFA that they forecast that the market will import up to 500,000 head of live cattle in 2016. With Bluetongue problems in France, they are looking to Ireland as a major EU supplier”.
The IFA Livestock leader said senior veterinary officials from Turkey visited Ireland last Christmas and were very satisfied with our livestock, conditions and controls.
Henry Burns said the immediate requirement in Turkey would be for younger stock, mainly bull weanlings up to 12 months of age and up to 300kgs from the suckler herd.
Henry Burns said to date this year Irish live exports are up 34% or 6,062 head on last year at 23,926 head. He said exports of calves to Holland and Spain have been strong and this is very important at this time of year, when Irish calves are available. Exports to Italy and Northern Ireland are also positive.
“Considering the increase in cattle supplies forecasted for the second half of 2016, it is vitally important that the live export trade is prioritised at the highest levels and all possible markets are opened and pursued to the maximum”, he concluded.