French blockades threat to €350m beef and lamb trade
Consumers beginning to boycott imported meat as farmers ramp up demands
Concerns are growing over the country's €350m beef and lamb exports to France, with farmer blockades and disruption at ferry ports hampering the valuable trade.
The farmer protests are now leading to boycotts by some French customers on all types of imported meat.
"Furthermore the French government has insisted that all public institutions must purchase only French product in an effort to support the local production," warned Joe Ryan from Meat Industry Ireland (MII).
There were reports yesterday that some trucks travelling to France were unable to unload their produce at distribution sites which was resulting in surplus lamb being sold at a discount.
Mr Ryan said MII was increasingly concerned by developments in France and the impact it will have on trade.
The processors' body warned the disruption at ferry ports combined with the French farmer protests were impacting negatively on business.
Figures from Bord Bia show France is Ireland's biggest export market for sheep meat valued at €90m or 42pc of all exports last year, with over 50,000 tonnes of Irish beef valued at €260m also destined for French shelves.
"These actions are a cause for significant concern for Irish meat exports. In particular, the lamb trade is very vulnerable given the traditional high level of exports of Irish lamb to the French market during our peak season production at the moment," said Mr Ryan.