Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has held a bilateral meeting with the Turkish Minister for Agriculture, His Excellency Ahmet Esref Fakibaba in Izmir, Turkey. The meeting was part of Minister Creed's trade visit to Turkey.
“I was very pleased to have a detailed exchange of views with Minister Fakibaba on a range of issues of mutual importance. Ireland’s agri-food exports to Turkey amounted to around €70m in 2017 and today’s visit to the International AgroExpo at the invitation of Minister Fakibaba provided the ideal opportunity to build further relationships with the Turkish authorities," Minister Creed said.
“Live cattle exports were obviously a central part of our discussion,” Minister Creed continued. Ireland exported 30,000 cattle to Turkey last year, around 6 per cent of their total import requirement.
“Turkey is now our third-biggest market for live exports, accounting for 16 per cent of our total live exports. I am confident that there are significant opportunities to grow this trade further.
“Minister Fakibaba and I agreed to set up an official contact group, involving senior officials from both our departments. This group will facilitate discussions on the detailed technical and certification requirements for exports to Turkey, and promote better understanding of our Irish sustainable production systems and high animal health and welfare standards.”
Minister Fakibaba and the director general of ESK (the Turkish Meat and Milk Board) also confirmed that, from the end of May, private sector buyers will be permitted to import cattle for fattening. Currently this trade is through State body ESK only. Minister Creed welcomed this announcement: “Being able to sell fattening cattle direct to private buyers will open up valuable new opportunities for trade.”
Minister Creed added: “Our discussions also reflected on the success of the Irish dairy sector, which accounts for almost half of our exports to Turkey. I think that the value added growth of this industry, built on the co-operative tradition, is a model of great interest here. We also discussed the growth of bovine semen exports from Ireland to Turkey, based on our expertise in genetics. Sustainable Food Systems Ireland, which works on technology and knowledge transfer to our international partners, can also provide support in the use of genomic technology.”
Minister Fakibaba accepted a formal invitation from Minister Creed to visit Ireland in the future.