First consignment of Northern Irish beef lands in the Philippines

The first consignment of Northern Irish beef under the new trade agreement has arrived in the Philippines and is now on sale.

The produce is likely to be used for foodservice in the country.

The Filipino authorities announced in August 2017 that beef exports from the UK to the Philippines could recommence, alongside existing exports of pork, chicken and lamb.

The first consignment of beef from Northern Ireland has now cleared customs in the Philippines and has the potential to become a major trade opportunity for the local beef industry.

Welcoming the progress, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) deputy chief veterinary officer, Dr. Perpetua McNamee said: “We have been working in partnership with Defra and the industry to identify new markets and opportunities for our local meat sector.

This process began in 2015 and it is welcoming to note that the Filipino people will now have the opportunity to sample the fine quality beef produced by our farmers.

The approval process

In March 2015, DAERA and Defra officials travelled to the Philippines to highlight the high standards of animal welfare, traceability and official controls in the UK, which results in the production of a high-quality meat product.

Following on from this visit, officials from the Bureau of Animal Industry and the National Meat Inspection Service in the Philippines conducted a UK systems audit, covering beef, lamb, pork and poultry species in November 2016.

The UK audit focused heavily on official controls and production methods in Northern Ireland, both on-farm and at processing-level.

The Filipino authorities recognised the high standards in place and announced in August 2017 that beef exports from the UK to the Philippines could recommence, alongside existing exports of pork, chicken and lamb.

Pork approval

Dr. McNamee also welcomed the announcement that the pork industry in Northern Ireland will now have access to the Taiwanese market after authorities agreed to accept pork imports from the UK for the first time.

Defra forecasts that additional trade to these new markets may be worth £34 million and £50 million to the UK beef and pork industries respectively over the next five years.

McNamee added: “This market is of particular significance to the pork industry because it will provide opportunities for pork processors to export much of the less marketed ‘fifth-quarter’ products which have a limited outlet more locally.

“Gaining access to the Philippines and Taiwanese markets is further recognition of the rigorous standards we have in place to produce our high-quality, safe and wholesome meat. We in DAERA will continue to invest much time and energy into opening new markets across the globe to expand the agri-food industry in NI.”