Economy, Business And Markets

Ireland to Begin Exporting Sheepmeat to Iran

Irish Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed Irish Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed

Irish exporters can now ship sheepmeat to Iran, following an agreement with Iranian authorities.

According to Ireland’s farming news portal Agriland, the decision was welcomed by Irish Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed who said it was a direct outcome of the agri-food trade mission to Iran in April when negotiations took place between the Irish government’s Department of Agriculture and Iranian authorities.

Creed also raised the issue in meetings with Iran’s Ambassador to Ireland Javad Kachoueian.

“I am delighted to see yet another third country market open for Irish meat products, particularly for the sheep sector which I am very keen to see develop further and deliver more for all levels in that sector,” he said.

The agreement means Ireland now enjoys access for both beef and sheepmeat to Iran and this could be beneficial to Irish farmers, as Iran is the second largest consumer market in the Middle East and North Africa.

In total, the Middle Eastern state has around 80 million consumers and economic growth is expected to intensify following the recent easing of economic sanctions.

Creed also said the search for new and third country markets is a top priority for his department and that he is fully committed to ensuring that Irish meat exports have access to as many international markets as possible.

“This search for new markets for Irish food and drink has taken on an added urgency in the context of the challenges posed by possible upcoming UK exit from the European Union. Today’s announcement on Iran is another example of achieving the market access goals in the Food Wise 2025 strategy,” he said.

“We have already had a very successful trade mission to four Asian countries in recent weeks and I expect to be making further announcements on upcoming trade missions in the near future.”

Creed noted that the Irish Department of Agriculture, led by the Market Access unit, will continue to work closely with Bord Bia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Irish exporters to seek new export markets.

Food Wise 2025 is Ireland’s national food strategy, highlighting key targets for the next 10 years and ensuring the future of Ireland’s most valuable sector.

Ireland’s state agency Bord Bia embarked on a trade mission with 17 Irish food producers to explore the potential of the Iran market at the end of April this year.

Bord Bia is Ireland’s trade development body promoting the sale of Irish food and horticulture products abroad

The visit was aimed at increasing Ireland’s share in the Iranian food market following the removal of international sanctions in January.

The Irish delegates, including Creed, met senior officials of Iran’s Agriculture Ministry to discuss trade opportunities for Irish beef, sheepmeat and dairy in particular.

“Iran’s profile as a key player in the region will make it a key focus for any nation with agro export-related ambitions such as Ireland and could be considered a gateway to the region,” Creed said after the visit.

Ireland’s food and beverage exports to Iran in 2015 amounted to €3.6 million, consisting mainly of juices, butter and prepared foods, according to Bord Bia.


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