Dáil Éireann - Volume 567 - 22 May, 2003
Written Answers. - Beef Marketing.
Mr. Perry Mr. Perry
25. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the number of times the beef summit has met since its establishment; the measures or recommendations it has taken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13927/03]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Minister for Agriculture and Food (Mr. Walsh): I hosted a meeting of the main farming organisations and the chief executives of the main beef export companies last December. The purpose of the meeting was to review the state of the beef industry and to consider the best market strategy for the industry in the short to medium term.
A number of issues were agreed at that meeting. First, the participants accepted that the Bord Bia market strategy involving Irish beef moving up the value chain within the EU and gaining a greater spread of markets, represented the best way forward for the industry. This involves applying greater efforts in maximising the returns from core European markets, including Italy and Holland, targeting growth in European developing markets such as Scandinavia and France, and developing niche opportunities in Germany, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. In this context the UK will continue to be our largest core market for beef and the strategy ahead will involve increasing the volume of overall trade at retail level in the UK.
Second, on third country markets there was an acceptance of the need to avail of every market open to Irish beef and in this regard processors will continue to supply the important Russian market and will renew commercial efforts to supply our traditional and important third country markets.
The participants agreed also on the importance of introducing mechanical classification at an early date. I undertook to press hard at EU level to advance a framework regulation to facilitate the early introduction of a EU-wide mechanical classification system. I expect that a new EU regulation allowing the introduction of mechanical classification will be adopted next month. Testing of machines should commence in September-October with a view to machines being operational in factories by year-end.
My Department also convened a meeting with the beef industry and in particular those involved in third country trade earlier this month. The meeting, which included the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bord Bia, IMA and IBEC, reviewed the current state of play in each market and the ongoing and planned actions aimed at restoring full access. There was a shared agreement on the strategies being pursued and on the commercial potential of each market. Specific points of action relating to certain third countries were agreed and will be pursued on an individual basis in the short-term.
Irish beef should have unrestricted access to each and every market throughout the world and with this in mind I will convene similar meetings on a regular basis to review progress and to consider what further actions may be necessary to ensure the expansion of the beef trade into third country markets.
Dáil Éireann 567 Written Answers. Beef Marketing.