MLC OUTLOOK CONFERENCE - Beef and lamb production likely to falter - consultant

DESPITE THE eventual outcome of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks on trade, CAP reform is likely to have an effect on the decline in beef production due to a reduction in suckler and dairy herds, said Liz Murphy from EM Consultants.

Although she admitted she was in no position to forecast production figures accurately at this stage, it was likely that sheep meat production would also reduce. However, this was not expected to be as great as the decline in beef production (including live animal exports) and there would be little impact on pig meat production.

Speaking after the conference, Ms Murphy said: "CAP reform will cause some of this (decline) to happen. Whether or not WTO decisions cause more of that to happen remains to be seen." She said with export reform there would be a decline in abattoir throughput for beef and a potential increase in competition from Ireland. She said there could also be a decline in sheep meat abattoir throughput with reduced consumption due to high prices and no additional access.

Although the impact on the pork sector is expected to be minimal, Ms Murphy said there would be concern when the market was weak. She said the import potential for pork was limited but mentioned Brazzil as a potential threat for the future.

Comenting on WTO negotiations, Ms Murphy said: "We need a significant offer on services and NAMA. Most favoured nations quotas should not be country specific and there should be a balance between cooked/frozen and cooked products for poultry."

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