'No future for Irish beef in China' claims top processor
A leading Irish meat processor is pulling out of the Chinese market as it highlighted poor prospects for beef exports to China.
Beef processor Dunbia reported sales through channels such as Hong Kong have collapsed by 80pc in the last 12 months to levels that are "hardly worth it".
"We're moving out of China, we think that day is over. Our focus is going to be Africa, the Philippines and India over the coming years," said Jack Dobson, founder of the Tyrone-headquartered Dunbia.
He spoke to the Farming Independent from Hong Kong where he met with top officials from China's food safety authority, the ASQIQ.
"After spending time talking to the ASQIQ I don't think we have a hope of getting any beef in there before Christmas, and I'm not sure that it's going to be any different in the years to come. They don't see themselves being short of beef and they want to protect their own producers," he said.
China has been pinpointed as massive potential growth market for processors, as an additional 115,000 head are due to begin filtering through to the meat plants here next year following the expansion of the dairy herd.
But a key analysis has shown beef finishers may be on track for a price disaster next spring.
Store cattle prices continued to soar at marts around the country in recent months, with calves changing hands ringside last week for more than €700 in some cases, despite factory quotes falling again this week. Steers took a 5c/kg drop to €3.90-3.95/kg, while heifers fell to €4.00-4.05.