Farm Ireland

Saturday 24 March 2018

Fifth boat for the export of live cattle could be approved this week

The loading of Cattle at Greenore Port on Wednesday 19th October 2016. Picture: Thos Caffrey / Newsfile
The loading of Cattle at Greenore Port on Wednesday 19th October 2016. Picture: Thos Caffrey / Newsfile
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

A fifth boat for the live export of cattle is set to be inspected by the Department of Agriculture this week, according to IFA President, Joe Healy.

Healy said IFA is pushing for more designated boats to be approved for the live trade out of Ireland.

He said currently there are four boats cleared to sail and another boat is set to be inspected next week.

In addition, there are three more boats lined up for approval and these are essential to service the new and developing live export markets emerging.

Speaking at a Bord Bia/Department of Agriculture seminar for live exporters in Tullamore this week, Healy called for a major national diplomatic initiative to be led by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed to maximise every single market opportunity on live exports in 2017.

The IFA President said, “It is clear that there are real opportunities for Ireland in the live export markets such as Turkey, North Africa and continental Europe and all of these must be actively pursued in 2017.”

Against a background of increased cattle supplies of 100,000 head forecast for 2017 and a continuing increase in calf supplies, Joe Healy said we need to get the capacity of the live trade back up to 300,000 to 400,000 head to drive competition and get a balance back into the beef trade capable of delivering viable prices from the market.

Healy said the live trade needs more support.

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“The charges on the live trade are way too high and IFA is demanding that the fees of up to €8.00 per head charged on calf exports be removed,” he said

The charges are made up of Department of Agriculture inspection (€4.80) and disease levies (€1.27), as well as Bord Bia (€1.90) charges. 

Healy said it is completely unfair that a calf worth between €80 and €150 per head would have to pay the same level of charge as a finished animal going through a meat plant worth €1,400 per head.

He also said a strong live export trade for calves is essential, adding that the current difficulties in exporting to Holland are very unsatisfactory and need to be resolved immediately with the EU Commission. Irish farmers must have access to the EU single market.

The IFA President also called for the restrictions on labelling being used to inhibit and block the vitally important live trade to Northern Ireland and Britain must be resolved.

He said it is totally unacceptable that processors and retailers are allowed to stymie a trade by unfairly using EU labelling legislation.

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