The province’s beef and sheep business is one of Europe’s most dominant regional sectors, comparing its turnover to other local industries.
“We very much welcome the opening of this new market in Singapore as another outlet for our beef, produced to the very highest standards,” a spokesperson for the Ulster Farmer’s Union (UFU) told Globalmeatnews.com.
However it will “take at least six months before we establish the benefit of this market” as Singapore had been closed for UK beef imports for some time, the Northern Ireland Meat Exporters’ Association chief executive Phelim O’Neill said, adding, “This is a valued market for us.”
Northern Ireland accounts for more than 30% of the UK’s total beef exports, said O’Neill. And the Northern Irish beef and sheep industry has a target to increase turnover by 65% to £1.6bn (US$2.6bn) by 2020 from its £968m (US$1.57bn) turnover in 2010, according to the Northern Ireland executive’s ‘Going for Growth’ strategy, published in April 2013.
Northern Ireland executive agriculture and rural development minister Michelle O’Neill urged the region’s agri-food industry to “embrace these new export opportunities”. She said: “Singapore authorities have indicated they are looking forward to the north of Ireland quickly taking advantage of this new market.”
Singapore’s demand for beef is growing: its beef imports shot up to 25,485 tonnes (t) by 2010 from 17,581t in 2004, according to the Singapore high commission in London. And the number rose to 27,785t in 2011.