Record highs recorded for beef exports
- Record highs recorded for beef exports
March 3, 2004
(17:12) Exports of Irish beef to the EU hit record levels last year.
The Irish beef industry sold more beef to European countries than ever before and at 415,000 tonnes, exports to the EU were 17% higher than the previous record in 2002. Overall Irish beef exports were worth 1.28bn last year.
The Minister for Agriculture, Joe Walsh, praised the efforts of the industry in expanding its market reach at EU retail level.
This signifies a huge shift away from international commodity markets and into the higher priced internal EU marketplace.
Throughout the 1990s, the industry exported 50% of its products into non-EU markets. In 2003, this share dropped to just 17% while the EU share increased proportionately.
The increase in sales to Europe coincides with the emergence of an EU market deficit in beef for the first time in 25 years.
The UK remains the principal market for Irish beef, accounting for over half total exports at 265,000 tonnes. This represents a rise of 8% on 2002 levels and accounts for two thirds of Britain's total import requirements.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Saudi Arabian senior health officials are travelling to Ireland next week to examine Ireland's BSE and food safety measures.
This visit follows ongoing efforts to export beef to countries outside the EU.