IFA President Joe Healy has said Ireland should take a brand Ireland approach to selling beef to China.
He said the Chinese market presented a unique opportunity to build a high value Irish beef brand, similar to Kerrygold for dairy.
“We have to maximise the price return and avoid a situation where the farmer price is undermined by processors undercutting each other in the Chinese market,” said Mr Healy.
“Farmers have seen the success of the Ornua Kerrygold model on the dairy side and China presents an opportunity to take a similar approach with Irish beef.”
Meanwhile, the IFA president, along with National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods and National Pig Chairman Tom Hogan were visiting China as part of a ministerial trade mission, following the opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef last month.
“The Chinese market could not be more important in the context of the risk to the UK market from Brexit,” added Mr Healy.
“China presents a unique opportunity and we must get it right.”
Reputation and sustainability are key attributes for the Chinese market, along with transparency and traceability.
“In addition, innovation is essential with 72% of consumers buying a new product at their last shopping, compared to 42% for EU consumers.”
Mr Healy went on to say that it was encouraging that Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan were leading these high level trade missions organised around the SIAL Fair in Shanghai China to promote Irish and European food and agriculture.
“China consumes one-quarter of the world’s meat supply, and imported 700,000 tonnes of beef in 2017,” he added.
“There is enormous potential for further rapid growth in consumer demand for beef, with consumption expected to double by 2020, driven by increasing urbanisation and rising incomes.”