Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, met with his Turkish counterpart, Dr Bekir Pakdemirli, Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, in Istanbul to discuss existing and future opportunities for technical cooperation and trade in agri-food products.
According to a statement from the Department, the discussions had a particular focus on prospects for renewed live cattle exports from Ireland to Turkey.
“This was a useful opportunity to discuss a range of mutually important matters with Minister Pakdemirli,” Minister Creed said.
“Turkey has become an important market for Irish livestock in recent years and I 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.”
Creed believes that the Turkish market offers significant potential as a destination for Irish cattle exports, despite the fact import licenses are currently suspended by the Turkish Ministry due to over-supply in its market.
Since 2016, more than 60,000 Irish cattle have been exported to Turkey, including both breeding animals and cattle for further fattening.
“We now have a clearer understanding for the reasons behind the Turkish Government’s decision to suspend the issuing of new import licenses in late 2018,” the Minister said.
“There are obvious concerns in Turkey regarding oversupply 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.”
Turkish officials visited Ireland last month under the EU’s TAIEX programme, to visit meat plants, livestock marts, assembly centres and ports, to understand how animal welfare controls are administered.
In 2017, Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI) invited Turkish officials to come and understand Ireland’s agri-environmental programmes and approach to sustainable land management practices.
“Minister Pakdemirli and I reflected on the importance of such exchanges in understanding and maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare, which is an essential prerequisite to any trade in live animals,” the Minister concluded.
“We agreed that officials would explore opportunities for future cooperation and a visit by a Turkish technical team, including officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and ESK (the Turkish Meat and Milk Board) is planned for Summer 2019.”
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.