LMC to play key role within new food marketing body for NI

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) will play a critically important role as part of the over-arching responsibilities assumed by the new food marketing body for Northern Ireland, according to the organisation’s Chairman Gerard McGivern.

“The establishment of the new body is one of the core proposals put forward by the Agri-Food Strategy Board,” he said.

And given recent developments, particularly Brexit, it is imperative for the new marketing organisation to be established as quickly as possible.

“The LMC plays a critical role within the red-meat sector. This encompasses the provision of wide-ranging market intelligence, promotion and marketing services that have been specifically designed to meet the needs of farmers, processers and retailers.

“In addition, the commission has ownership of the Farm Quality Assurance Scheme, which is recognised by stakeholders as delivering tremendous value along the entire length of the agri-food chain, where beef and lamb are concerned.”

According to McGivern, the LMC will also play a critical role in securing new market access for beef and lamb produced in Northern Ireland – post-Brexit.

“And we already have a strong track record in making this happen. The UK currently enjoys a free-trade agreement with the rest of the EU. And in this context the commission has been consistently active in helping to secure new market outlets for local red-meat businesses.

“But we are also members of the UK Export Certification Partnership. Specifically, this organisation provides a forum to discuss the use of UK representatives in negotiating export health certificates. These are critical in delivering new market access around the world. The certification body also assists in the drafting of the relevant legal documentation, which will be required before exports can take place.”

He added: “We now know that Whitehall will have overall responsibility when it comes to securing new market access for agri-food businesses throughout the UK.

“But the commission’s involvement with the Export Certification Partnership will ensure that the needs of Northern Ireland’s red-meat sector are fully recognised, within the work undertaken by this critically-important body moving forward.”