Following a visit to Cherbourg, France, IFA National Dairy Chairman Tom Phelan and Livestock Chairman Angus Woods today (Friday) said there is real scope for increased quality lairage capacity for Irish calf exports in the area.
The two IFA farm leaders called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, his officials and all stakeholders in the sector to engage with their relevant counterparts and partners at national and regional level in France to help make this happen.
“We met with the two lairage operators in Cherbourg, and found their facilities to be of very high standard, professionally run by committed staff using best practice which are being controlled by the regional veterinary authorities whom we also met,” the two Chairmen said.
Tom Phelan added: “At a meeting with the Port Authorities, we established that there is real appetite in the region to develop and support the logistical capacity for all types of export activity, especially in the context of Brexit. Our meetings with the lairage operators have shown that they like working with Irish calf exporters and are positively disposed towards catering for increased capacity in future”.
Angus Woods added “Our trip was not just about gathering information. We also wanted to give justified confidence to the local lairage operators, veterinary and Port authorities that the export of calves in best practice conditions out of Ireland was a sustainable trade flow which, while highly seasonal, would see a steady increase and justify continued and additional investment in facilities”.
The National Livestock Chairman added: “For calves just as for weanlings or other stock, the live export trade is a crucial component of the market, providing essential price competition and additional outlets. Securing increased capacity is very important for this valuable trade.”
In 2018, Ireland exported a total of 246,000 live cattle, of which 158,000 were calf exports. The main calf export markets included Spain (92,495), Netherlands (48,922) and Belgium (13,459).