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Minister Coughlan announces intensified promotion of Irish beef for the Autumn

The Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today announced the intensification by Bord Bia of efforts to promote Irish beef over the coming months. She pointed out that she had asked Bord Bia to do this with a view to ensuring the maximum possible benefit to the sector over the forthcoming months. The aim is to build on the already well-established marketing and promotional activities by Bord Bia and the industry. Among the actions planned are the following:

  • A Bord Bia led Autumn promotional campaign will kick off in September. This will involve in store promotions with 39 supermarket groups across 13 European countries involving over 10,000 individual outlets. The strongest focus will be in Britain, Holland and Italy. Since 2001 the number of European supermarket groups stocking Irish beef has increased from 27 to 62.
  • A new Irish beef marketing strategy will be completed in September. This follows consultation with industry as to how best to use the promotional resources available over the period 2008 to 2013. The Minister is looking forward to receiving the strategy and is positively disposed to making additional support available to Bord Bia in the immediate term to accelerate its implementation to deliver increased returns to the Irish industry this year.
  • The Minister is also focusing efforts on exports to international markets and has established a Market Access Group chaired by her Department and including representatives from Bord Bia and the meat industry to spearhead the re-opening of markets for Irish beef and elimination of barriers to trade both financial and technical. Ireland's network of Embassies is also heavily involved. A programme to increase the awareness of Irish beef health controls is planned in South East Asia for early September.

Commenting on the initiative the Minister said, "There has been a momentous shift in our beef markets over recent years. While 90% of our beef is exported, the fact is that the vast majority of this is now sold on high value EU markets with less than 7% of our exports now sold on non-EU markets. This outcome did not come about by accident. It has resulted from a solid partnership between my Department, state agencies, exporters and producers. European consumers are familiar with the quality and competitiveness of Irish beef and they trust our produce. This new targeted campaign will further the profile of Irish beef in the international marketplace."

The Minister emphasised the intensified marketing and promotion campaign was one of a series of measures to assist the beef sector. Others include the Capital Investment Aid Scheme for the beef and sheepmeat sectors, which is directed towards improving efficiency and competitiveness in processing, the proposed Animal Welfare Scheme for Suckler Herds, expansion of Quality Assurance Schemes, and advances in breed improvement programmes being progressed by ICBF.

The Minister concluded that theses initiatives clearly underlined the Government's and her own personal commitment to the continued success of the beef sector.

29 July, 2007

Date Released: 30 July 2007