ABP wins deal to supply Irish beef to China

Irish beef supplier ABP has signed a £45 million contract to supply beef to China’s mainland and Taiwan.

Under a three-year exclusive agreement recently signed with a Taiwan-headquartered restaurant chain Wowprime Corporation, the beef will be supplied to the 400 restaurants operated by Wowprime in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

The signing of the agreement with Wowprime is a tangible endorsement of the quality beef we supply, said Mark Goodman, Managing Director of ABP’s International Division.

It also marks another significant step in developing new market opportunities for our products against the uncertain backdrop of Brexit, said Mark.

Facing the increasing uncertainty in its traditional European market following Britain’s decision to withdraw from the Europe Union, the company has recently quickened its step in exploring new market potentials in Asia, especially in the rapidly growing Chinese market.

Last month, the company also signed a contract with a Hong Kong-based supermarket chain to supply the latter with high quality beef products.

full story – xinhuanet.com

Mu Xuequan

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on UK lamb exports

Lamb from the UK will soon be heading to Saudi Arabia in a deal which could be worth £25 million over the next five years.

Saudi Arabian authorities have this week lifted the ban on sheep meat from the UK, following a detailed process to gain access to this new and lucrative market.

Exports of lamb could begin as early as next month once export certification is finalised and released.

The agreement comes following ongoing negotiations and inspections carried out jointly by Defra, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), FSA, UKECP, DAERA and APHA.

AHDB International Market Development Director Phil Hadley said: “This is great news for the sheep industry and for lamb processors and producers in the UK who are keen to look at new, non-EU markets.

“The announcement is the result of ongoing and detailed work between all parties and is a testament to the high regard and quality of UK lamb.”

The news comes hot on the heels of an agreement to progress lifting the BSE ban on UK beef exports to China, as well as exports of a broader range of dairy products, following the Prime Minister’s visit to Beijing earlier this month.

AHDB

ABP signs first Irish deal to sell beef in China

Larry Goodman’s ABP has secured the first contract to supply Irish beef to China, ahead of the widely-anticipated opening up of the huge Asian market.

The ABP Food Group has signed a €50m deal to supply Chinese restaurant chain Wowprime in what is a significant first for the sector here.

ABP has been assessing opportunities in the Asian markets over the past seven years, and has now confirmed it has struck a three-year agreement with Wowprime Corporation to supply beef to its restaurants, even before Irish exporters get the green light for access to the Chinese market.

The food group said the contract – estimated at €50m – would also extend to its joint venture partners Slaney Foods, but it remains dependent on Irish beef gaining access to the Chinese market.

China is already the world’s second-biggest beef importer and access for Irish beef would be a major win for their industry. Irish officials travelled to China recently in a bid to progress the long-running bid for access for beef.

read the full story – independent.ie

Louise Hogan

Fairfax Meadow recalls products after FSA inspections

Derby-based Fairfax Meadow has begun the voluntary withdrawal of some of its meat products from its customers in the catering trade following unannounced inspections by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland on Thursday 8 February.

Fairfax’s customers include Jurys Inn, Greene King, Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Giraffe restaurants, Nando’s and Wetherspoons.

The firm, which has its head office  in Derby received unannounced inspections which revealed concerns about the procedures and processes the company had been using to apply use by dates on some of its products.

A statement from the Food Standards Agency said: “Our review is ongoing but the company has acted properly and proportionately in swiftly withdrawing potentially affected products from the market.

full story – the business desk

China approves imports from Danish Crown

China has approved the import of Danish salami, frankfurter sausages and canned pork, top processor Danish Crown said this week, clearing the way for shipments of higher-value processed meat to the world’s top pork consumer.

The agreement, which comes after more than nine years of talks between China and Denmark, allows two factories owned by Danish Crown subsidiary Tulip Food Company to export six products to China: pepperoni, salami, frankfurter sausages, hotdogs, canned luncheon meat and canned sausages.

Exports of such products to China could be worth 250 million Danish krone ($42 million) a year in a few years time, said Tulip Food Company chief executive Kasper Lenbroch.

“I expect the first container to be shipped off within the next few weeks,” he said in a statement on Monday. The company already has agreements in place with Chinese distribution partners, he said.

Danish Crown already sells large volumes of fresh pork China, which accounts for about 5 percent of its sales. China bought around 217,000 tonnes of meat from the company in its 2016/17 financial year, worth about 403 million euros.

The company is aiming to capture growing Chinese demand for higher-value processed meat, however, and is due to open a new factory near Shanghai next year.

Danish Crown recently partnered with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to encourage consumers to order more costly cuts of pork online.

full story – Reuters

Dominique Patton

EU-Mercosur trade talks close with key gaps remaining

Negotiators for the European Union and Latin American bloc Mercosur have concluded two weeks of talks in Brussels on a free trade deal with no clear breakthrough and no formal offers made.

The two sides’ negotiating teams have agreed to continue discussions in Asuncion, Paraguay, in the week beginning Feb. 19, a Commission spokesman said on Friday.

“There is still some work to be done,” he told a Commission news conference.

The EU signalled last week that it could open up its market to more beef from Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, raising its potential offer for beef access to 99,000 tonnes per year from a previous 70,000 tonnes, people close to the talks said.

Beef has been a key demand for the Mercosur countries, but a concern for EU farming nations such as Ireland and France.

“We are very watchful,” French Agriculture Minister Stephane Travert told French lawmakers on Jan. 31, saying the amount of beef offered should be kept to a minimum.

A European Commission source said there was still some ground to cover.

For the EU, key issues are market opening for cars and car parts and dairy products, access for European companies to public tenders and maritime services, as well as protection of food and drink names, such as champagne or Parma ham, which the EU says can only be used for products made in particular areas.

In terms of tariff reduction, it could be the EU’s most lucrative trade deal to date, with the savings potentially three times greater than for deals with Canada and Japan combined.

 Full story – Reuters

China pig prices plunge

Pig prices in China are falling ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday that is the nation’s peak pork eating period, underlining concerns about plentiful supplies in the world’s top producer.

The average price paid by large slaughterhouses for pigs has dropped by about 10 percent in the last month according to industry website Soozhu.com.

 The price drop bucks the seasonal trend of prices rising ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese gather with family for meals that include pork dishes.

The week-long holiday will begin on Feb. 15.

Prices typically peak for the year ahead of the holiday and farmers want to sell hogs now in expectation that prices will likely only fall from this point, according to analysts.

“People want to liquidate their herd before Chinese New Year while prices are high,” said Pan Chenjun, a director at Rabobank, referring to small- and medium-sized farms.

China is expected to slaughter 696 million pigs this year, said Yao Guilin, an analyst with China-America Commodity Data Analytics, an increase of about 1 percent from last year.

Previously, hog herds had declined in China amid low prices that led farmers to cull their stock.

Reuters

Another attempt to save IOM abattoir

’A more commercially focused plant providing better returns for farmers.’

This is the aim of Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture

He said this as the new operator, the Isle of Man Meat Company Ltd, met with producers, butchers, retailers and the Manx National Farmers’ Union.

The meeting was led by Andrew MacDonald, a senior consultant with UK agricultural consultants Laurence Gould Partnership Ltd and now a director of IoMMCL.

The loss-making plant was formerly ran by Fatstock Marketing Association, but in 2016 50% of all Manx livestock was exported to the UK for slaughter while the annual subsidy rose to nearly £1.4m.

Mr Boot said: ’Giving the plant new impetus will help all those in the supply chain while, over time, lessening the cost to the taxpayer of supporting it.’

The new operators, will attempt to raise output and improve on the marketing of local meats.

It had been announced by the Treasury that the plant would receive £1m in extra funding during the handover to the new board with a view to gradually reduce the annual subsidy.

Talking of the meeting with producers and retailers, Mr Boot said: ’We want the entire sector’s input on how animals are sourced from farms.

’From this, we will develop a transparent purchasing process that everyone can rely on.’

Read the full story – IOM Today

Sam Turton

Fears of beef industry sell-out grow as EU pushes for South America trade deal

Irish agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan has been urged to force a rethink on the “sell-out” of beef farmers amid moves to close a trade deal with the South American Mercosur countries.

Concerns have been raised after sources close to the high-level talks say the EU raised the potential for access of beef to the bloc of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay from 77,000 tonnes up to 99,000 tonnes.

In return, the EU is eager to secure more trade access for cars, dairy and maritime services among other items, with pressure mounting to secure a deal ahead of March elections. However, Cormac Healy from Meat Industry Ireland (MII), which represents meat processors, said the European Commission has been stating that the trade deal would be a positive one overall for the EU.

“How far are they willing to go in terms of further sacrificing the beef sector to what they say is a positive deal?” he said. “Why have we now seen again another 30,000 tonnes of access added.”

Mercosur already supplies 75pc of EU beef imports.

full story – Independent.ie

Louise Hogan