Wexford Senator, Michael D'Arcy has welcomed the announcement by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, that Japan has lifted its embargo on the importation of Irish beef. The decision means that Japan is open to Irish beef for the first time since 2001 and Ireland is now one of just five countries which can export beef to Japan.
The decision to allow access for Irish beef to Japan comes after a meeting between the Taoiseach and Minister Coveney with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. Bord Bia estimates that the short to medium term opportunity for Irish beef in Japan is worth between €12 and €15 million with potential for significant expansion beyond that over time.
“It is well known that the Japanese have the highest standards when it comes to the importation of produce. The fact that Ireland is one of only five countries in the world that can export beef to Japan speaks volumes for the quality of our beef product.
Japan does not generate enough food to sustain its large population and is highly dependent on food imports. For Ireland to get its foot on the ladder this way is very significant and could lead to significant exports to Japan for the future. Farmers in Wicklow and around the country can tap into this new export chain which has the potential to have enormous dividends to their agri business.
“The massive efforts that have gone into creating and sustaining our excellent traceability system have assured export markets such as Japan of the safety of our beef produce. Today’s announcement is in no small part down to the hard work of people working on behalf of the Government including the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, and those in Enterprise Ireland who have helped make the case to the Japanese that Irish beef is of a high quality and safe.
As one of the few practicing farmers in the Oireachtas, I fully understand the importance that the agri-food sector is playing in Ireland’s economic recovery and the huge volume of high quality exports that are driving our excellent performance in this sector. I see today’s announcement as a huge step forward in the marketing of Irish beef and our agri-food produce in general.”