Provisional approval for Northern Ireland to export pork to China

Northern Ireland processors have been provisionally approved for exporting pork to China. 

The announcement comes after “intensive work” by the government and the Northern Irish pig industry.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said the deal is a boost to the local agri-food industry. “I am delighted that China’s certification agency, the CNCA has announced its intention to approve plants in the north of Ireland to export pork subject to them completing some remedial actions identified as part of their audit earlier this year. My officials are working closely with the two pork processors to ensure this work is progressed expeditiously and to a very high standard.”

The two processors, Dunbia and Karro Food Group, welcomed the announcement.

Dunbia, which processes 800,000 pigs a year, has long been an advocate for securing the Chinese export market which it calls “lucrative”. China is expected to become the world’s leading consumer of pigmeat on a per capita basis, surpassing the European Union, by 2022.

Dunbia deputy chief executive Tony O’Neill said: “Dunbia is delighted with the provisional approval from China for our pork exports. There has been a concerted effort by the Department of Agriculture and industry to secure the opening of the Chinese market for the Northern Ireland pork industry through building relationships and working through the bureaucratic process and I would like to thank Minister O’Neill for her
lead and commitment to the process.

“This immensely significant breakthrough for Northern Ireland pork in the world’s biggest marketplace should pave the way for our excellent pig producers here to access the extensive opportunities there.”

Seamus Carr, chief executive of Karro Food Group, said approval for direct access to China would have a “significant impact” on the business, giving it a potential increase in turnover of about 10% at the Cookstown plant.

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