It’s is a very difficult time for the farming sector and we would like to reassure all of our members that we are here to help and will be as supportive and flexible as we can.
Supplies of animal fodder are at critical levels around the country with many farmers going to require support not only to purchase extra feed but to maintain sufficient cash flow on their farms over the coming months. Many are feeding higher levels of concentrate and a return to normal weather and grass growing conditions should alleviate some of the financial pressures on farms.
However, whether the requirement is funding to purchase additional fodder or a need of some short term cash flow, we would encourage all farmers to come and talk to us in either office as soon as possible.
The opening of the Chinese market is a huge positive move for Irish beef farmers, and this market will be a key factor in our response to Brexit. The importance of the beef sector to the Irish Agri-food economy cannot be under estimated and it is a sector which must be supported. A key element must be the delivery of a better margin to the primary producer whose hard work, diligence and skill have made Irish beef the quality product that it is today.
Demand for meat in China has quadrupled in the past 30 years and this trend continues on an upward curve. This in the main is down to the fact that middle classes have higher disposable incomes and there is increased urbanisation throughout the country. Figures show that beef imports to China increased from 100,000 tonnes in 2012 to 700,000 in 2017. This is expected to double by 2020. Frozen boneless beef accounts for 80% of imports.
Initially the approval is for frozen, boneless beef with the hope of expanding the range of products over time. Transport time of a container shipment to China is about six weeks. The first three plants approved are ABP Clones, Slaney Foods in Wexford and Foyle Meats in Donegal. It is anticipated that an additional five producers will receive approval in the not too distant future.
At St. Colman’s Credit Union we have Agri Finance solutions that covers all farm related borrowing and we provide real support to the farming community in our common bond area. So if you have any concerns during this difficult time we would encourage all farmers to come and talk to us at the earliest opportunity. Alternatively farmers can make enquiries or applications by visiting our website or contacting Ciarain Doherty on 086-8533500.