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Minister Smith Underlines His Commitment to Pig Sector and Emphasises Importance of Export Markets

Speaking at the IFA National Pig Farmers' Forum in Athlone today, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, emphasised his commitment to the Irish pig industry. He pointed to the support made available to the sector through investment schemes and to the Government's prompt and decisive action following the dioxin incident as evidence of that commitment. The Minister also referred to the actions he has pursued at EU level to alleviate market difficulties.

Minister Smith also took the opportunity to stress the importance of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme. He told the audience "Pork and bacon produced under the Quality Assurance Scheme is widely recognised by consumers as a guarantee of quality and origin of the product. The Quality scheme covers all areas of concern to the public in the area of meat production including welfare, safety and traceability. There is an excellent level of participation in the Scheme by both producers and processors. Bord Bia will continue to vigorously promote quality assurance and I would urge you all to support it in the interests of upholding the good image that your product deserves".

Regarding the future outlook for the sector the Minister noted the Development Strategy that was drawn up by Teagasc in consultation with stakeholders. A steering group has been progressing the Strategy's recommendations and Minister Smith expects to receive the group's interim report in the coming months.

The Minister also commended Bord Bia for "the contribution they make to maintaining existing and developing new markets for Irish exports."  The Minister referred to the "critical importance of developing export markets" and paid tribute to the work done by Bord Bia, in conjunction with his Department, for the manner in which Ireland "regained access to most markets within a short time of their being closed" and said he hoped that the current efforts to reopen access to the Russian and Chinese markets would "bear fruit in the near future".

Date Released: 16 October 2009