The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has welcomed the agreement which has been reached with the veterinary authorities in Australia which will allow for the importation to that country of pigmeat from Ireland.
The Minister explained that this agreement was the result of on-going efforts by his Department, the Irish Embassy in Canberra and Bord Bia, over a number of years. These talks included a successful inspection visit to Ireland by a veterinary delegation from Biosecurity Australia in 2011.
Minister Coveney said that “this development was a sign of the good working relationship which has developed between the two countries.”
The minister pointed to the fact that Australia’s food control systems are held in the highest esteem throughout the world and this decision by the Australian authorities was a reflection of their trust and confidence in Ireland’s food safety systems.
Australia has been a target market for the Irish pigmeat industry for many years and Minister Coveney said that he was delighted that the industry now had an opportunity to export to this important market.
Last year the Australian food market imported over 149,000 tonnes of pork, valued at approximately €400 million.
With a population of almost 23 million people, over 2 million of whom claim an Irish ancestry, and a per capita consumption of 24.5 kilogrammes of pork per year, Australia offers Irish pork processors exciting new opportunities for sales and expansion of business into that country.
Conservative industry estimates are that up to an impressive €20 million worth of Irish pork could be exported to Australia on an annual basis in the future.
The Minister concluded with the commitment: “I am firmly of the view that it is vital that Irish companies have access to as many markets worldwide as possible and my Department and I will continue to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bord Bia to this end”.