Libyan authorities are “imminently” expected to lift a 16-year ban on the importation of beef from Ireland and other EU countries, according to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
Mr Coveney said he is optimistically awaiting official confirmation that the ban will be removed.
Tripoli imposed the ban on beef imports in 1996 after the BSE scare. The predicted move would give a welcome boost to the Irish beef sector.
“This is a very exciting time for Irish agriculture and food,” said Mr Coveney. “We are seen globally as a serious producer of high quality food and as a centre of excellence in terms of food safety, sustainable production systems, animal breeding and genetics.”
“My visit to China last week was tangible evidence of the fact that there is unlimited potential in the global market place for Irish food exports,” he said.
Mr Coveney said he recently wrote to his Libyan counterpart to reassure him of the high Irish standards in place in terms of animal health.
The next step now is to agree veterinary health certificates with the Libyan authorities which will set out the conditions under which the export of Irish beef can take place. It is hoped that these will be agreed soon, said Mr Coveney.
“I remain committed to working to ensure that Irish producers have access to as many world markets as possible,” he added. “With this in mind, my Department will continue to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Bord Bia to develop and expand our agri food exports.”
(Source: The Irish Times)