IFA president Tim Cullinan has spoken out following the move by Brazilian authorities to halt exports to China, saying it presents a huge opportunity for the Irish beef sector.

"The Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and the Government must now redouble their efforts to secure an immediate return of Irish beef to the Chinese market," he said.

"We should be making the most of this decision by Brazil. It’s a chance to gain a foothold in a market where demand is growing for quality food."

To highlight the scale of the market, Brazil exported almost 400,000t of beef to China in the first six months of this year.

IFA livestock chair Brendan Golden has said the Chinese market for Irish beef for the first six months of 2020 had increased in value by over 60% to €22.5m, in comparison with the previous year.

This is a clear indication of the strength of demand and potential for Irish beef exports, he said.

Huge demand

“There’s huge demand for beef in China. It’s critical that Irish farmers who produce to the most exacting standards in the world are in a position to avail of this,” he aded.

Golden said the Government cannot let the opportunity pass and must immediately secure the return of access for Irish beef to this strong and growing market.

It was announced in May that Ireland had attained official status from the OIE of negligible risk status for BSE.