Farm Ireland

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Turkey may re-open to live exports later this year - Minister

Minister Michael Creed with Dr Bekir Pakdemirli Minister for Agriculture and Forestry
Minister Michael Creed with Dr Bekir Pakdemirli Minister for Agriculture and Forestry
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Turkey may re-open to live exports from Ireland later this year the Minister for Agriculture has said after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart today.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, met with his Turkish counterpart, Dr Bekir Pakdemirli, Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, in Istanbul today. 

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Creed said there are obvious concerns in Turkey regarding over supply in the beef market, a matter which Minister Pakdemirli is determined to address.

"I’m pleased however that the Minister indicated his intention to consider the re-opening of the market in the second half of 2019. I assured my Turkish colleague that there is significant interest from industry in resuming that trade.”

The Turkish Government suspended the issuing of new import licenses in late 2018, but prior to that Turkey had become an important market for Irish livestock in recent years and Minister Creed said he was keen to impress upon the Minister the importance of the Turkish market for Ireland and our desire to re-establish trade as soon as possible.

"Turkey offers significant potential as a destination for Irish cattle exports, although import licenses are currently suspended by the Turkish Ministry due to over-supply in the Turkish market. 

"Since 2016, more than 60,000 Irish cattle have been exported to Turkey, including both breeding animals and cattle for further fattening. The stringent system of animal health and welfare controls operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the sea journey ensures that Irish cattle arrive in Turkey excellent condition, a point acknowledged by the Turkish delegation."

Under the EU’s TAIEX programme, Department of Agriculture veterinary officials provided a knowledge transfer programme in 2017 to the Turkish Ministry in Ankara on how Ireland administered the EU laws on Animal Welfare- there was a keen interest by the Turkish side on Ireland’s use of control posts, assembly centres, livestock markets  and the  transport and welfare of animals.

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Turkish officials visited Ireland last month under the TAIEX programme, including visits to meat plants, livestock marts, assembly centres and ports, to understand how animal welfare controls are administered.

Ireland exported €56m of agri-food products to Turkey in 2018, of which dairy accounted for €33m and live exports almost €13m in value. Ireland imported €15m of agri-food products from Turkey, of which over €11m were fruit and vegetables or fruit and vegetable based products.

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