Egypt, the largest market in Middle East and North America, has signed an agreement with Ireland to import Irish beef. Egypt, once the biggest market of Irish beef, terminated importing it in late 1990s after the government proclaimed a ban on EU beef. Since 2001, the African nation has been allowing conditional lift for the ban, which in Febuary 2016 was further eased when a delegation from Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture visited Ireland. Following the visit, both countries have agreed on live exports of cattle from Ireland to Egypt.
Ireland’s Department of Agriculture said that once the technicalities are done, five Irish plants would start exporting beef to Egypt, which has around 95 million prospectus customers. With exports of €45 million in 2015, Egypt is the third biggest terminus for Irish agri-food exports to Africa. But most of it comes from diary and seafood at €30.5 million and €11 million respectively. Under the current agreement Ireland would export beef offals and limited amount of sheep meat products.
Irish Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said he was delighted to see the Egyptian market re-open to Irish beef: “This announcement on Egypt is another example of achieving the market access goals in the Food Wise 2025 strategy. 2016 was a great success in terms of beef market access. It saw the extension of our beef market access to the US as well as the opening of the Canadian, New Zealand and Israeli beef markets. Significant steps were also taken in terms of beef market access to China, South Korea and Vietnam amongst others and I look forward to further progress in 2017.”