Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill today announced that the north has been provisionally recommended for approval to export pork to China.
Welcoming the announcement as a step forward and a boost to the local agri-food industry, the Minister said: “I am delighted that China’s certification agency, the CNCA has announced its intention to approve plants in the north of Ireland to export pork subject to them completing some remedial actions identified as part of their audit earlier this year. My officials are working closely with the two pork processors to ensure this work is progressed expeditiously and to a very high standard.
Minister O’Neill continued: “This welcome step forward follows my third visit to China in June which was focused on negotiating these vital pork approvals. I am pleased that my efforts have borne fruit. Securing approval was also made possible by us hosting two inward inspections by Chinese officials in April of this year.”
Illustrating the benefits to the pork industry of the north, the Minister added: “The commencement of pork exports to China will represent a major boost for the local pork industry which has been seeking to gain access to this market for several years. It will also provide lasting long term benefits to the wider agri-food sector and to the economy of the north as a whole. I also look forward to the north being able to extend this trade in the future to cover the export of pig trotters and additional pork products, which are not readily consumable on the domestic market. This will add value to the carcase for producers and processors alike.
“I, and my Department, continue to invest much time and energy into opening new markets to expand the agri-food industry in the north and I look forward to making more positive announcements on market opportunities in the future.”
The recommendation of provisional approval to export pork represents the most recent tangible outcome in the Minister’s long-term engagement strategy based on the Executive Agri-Food Strategy and also represents achievement in securing access to one of the primary new markets outlined in the Going for Growth initiative. China is expected to become the world’s leading consumer of pigmeat on a per capita basis, surpassing the European Union, by 2022.