The Malaysian market has opened for Irish pigmeat exports, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State Martin Heydon have announced.

Access has been secured for the Irish pigmeat produce following a campaign of engagement with Malaysian officials by Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture.

Malaysia has a population of some 33m people. The Department reports that there is a “sizeable consumer market” for pork and that imports account for around 6-7% of the total pigmeat consumed in the country.

The average person in Malaysia is said to consume some 17kg of pork annually.

Return to farmers

Minister McConalogue said the opening of the Asian market comes as a result of his Department’s work in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland in Kuala Lumpur, Bord Bia and other industry stakeholders.

“Securing access to the Malaysian market has been a priority for my Department for several years.

Credit is due in particular to Ambassador Hilary Reilly and her team in the Kuala Lumpur Embassy for their contribution.

“I hope the opening of a crucial and strategic market such as this will help drive greater levels of competition in the market which, in turn, should drive improved returns to farmers,” he said.

Build on achievement

“We are currently planning the trade mission agenda for 2023, and I hope that this will include a mission to Malaysia to build on this important market access achievement,” the Minister said.

The Malaysian deal is particularly important for the Irish pig sector, says Minister of State for New Market Development Martin Heydon. \ Philip Doyle.

Minister of State for New Market Development Martin Heydon said that as chair of the Pig Roundtable, a group set up to address the challenges faced by Irish pig farmers, he is “particularly” conscious of the Malaysian deal’s importance to the pigmeat sector.

“I know that this has been a challenging period for the sector, but in addition to the support packages that have been provided, we will continue to develop more trade opportunities which are essential to underpin its future development,” he said.