Beef imports fall except from Ireland

By FW reporters

BEEF imports – from all countries other than Ireland – fell sharply during February, according to latest Intrastat figures.

Imports from EU countries fell by 9% to 5,872 tonnes, compared with 6,488 tonnes in February last year. But imports from Ireland were up almost 25% year-on-year, to 4,725 t, accounting for 80% of the total.

The Irish presence is due to the countrys “de-seasonalisation” premium, which encourages producers to market in the first quarter of the year. But that has now finished, so fewer animals will be coming for slaughter, says Jane Connor of the Meat and Livestock Commission.

Cumulative EU imports for the first two months of the year stand at 12,095 t, a fall of almost 5%. There are fewer beasts about and better management of licenses for export refunds by the commission has allowed other EU countries to sell further afield.

Customs and Excise data for non-EU beef imports for January-March are 10,036 t, 7.6% lower than last year. But volumes remain high compared with recent years, and the strong Pound is enabling countries such as Australia and Botswana to view the UK as a lucrative market.

  • For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 22-28 April, 1998
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