There has been no agreement made yet to secure access for Irish sheepmeat for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) market, according to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

However, Minister McConalogue says that progress is being made on the matter.

He made the comments while speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday after returning from Saudi Arabia.

The visit involved meeting with the country’s Minister for Agriculture and the leadership of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and formed part of the Bord Bia-facilitated trade mission to the Middle East this week.

On Monday, ahead of the meetings, Bord Bia global business development director Ailish Forde said she hoped the Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia would be able to “move on” the sheepmeat access objective.


Despite the lack of immediate progress, describing his engagements in Saudi Arabia on sheepmeat Minister McConalogue said: “It was a very good meeting and very constructive actually and really good in terms of building the relationship there.

“I think we made good progress and [had] a good meeting around the sheep and obviously the key objective there now is to try and agree a health certificate and to get that tied down. That can take time at times.

“I’m hopeful that yesterday’s meeting will help us to move that on and we’ve committed to engage further over the next period of time as well to see how we can try and progress it.

“It’s a really good market for sheep. The customer engagements I had have indicated that there is a demand for sheepmeat [in Saudi Arabia].

“There’s potential there so that’s something we really want to try and progress.”

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