Brooks backs meat industry calls to heighten awareness of sheepmeat exports on international trade missions

‘We need more and better markets – urgent in light of potential difficulties in French market’

‘Escalation of French farmer protests looks like it may put pressure on imports of Irish lamb to France’

Sligo News File Online 

John Brooks, National Chairman, ICSA Sheep Committee
John Brooks,
National Chairman, ICSA Sheep Committee

ICSA sheep chairman John Brooks has backed calls by John Walsh of ICM Camolino meat plant for more emphasis to be placed on sheep exports in trade missions to countries like China and the USA.  

“The focus has been on beef but,” he said, “it would make sense if sheepmeat was also pushed on these diplomatic initiatives.  We have an excellent product that fits perfectly with the Origin Green strategy and clean, green image but we need more and better markets.”

According to Mr Brooks, this is now urgent in light of potential difficulties in the French market. 

“The escalation of protests by French farmers looks like it may put pressure on imports of Irish lamb to France. 

“France has traditionally been the key export market for Irish lamb and any hostility to Irish lamb exports there could spell trouble for the sheep sector.   We need to ensure that all our eggs are not in the one basket.”

Mr Brooks went on to say that that markets like China and the USA could be a real asset. 

“The US does not have a significant domestic supply of sheepmeat and it seems logical that Irish lamb could be a high value niche product in US restaurants as well as in some retail outlets.  On the other hand, China could be a vital market to ensure that we can maximise value from the whole lamb.

Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, TD.
Minister for Agriculture,
Simon Coveney, TD.

“I am calling on Minister Coveney to ensure that sheepmeat is also pushed adequately on future trade delegations to these countries and indeed to other markets that haven’t gotten the same attention yet.”