Irish Grass-fed Cattle: PGI Status

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 5th October 2021.

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Photo of Liz Kimmins Liz Kimmins Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 5th October 2021

T2. Ms Kimmins asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for an update on progress to ensure that the North is included in all-Ireland protected geographical indication (PGI) status for Irish grass-fed cattle. (AQT 1642/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

There was work done on that. We had requested that that would be the case, so it was a bit disappointing when the Irish Government proceeded on their own. Subsequent to that, we have been pressing for our inclusion. There was one issue that, they believed, we were behind on. It is something that, we believe, can be easily caught up. The EU will probably accept that as well.

Photo of Liz Kimmins Liz Kimmins Sinn Féin

I thank the Minister for his answer. The protection provided by the protocol is vital to our inclusion in an all-Ireland PGI status for Irish grass-fed cattle. Does the Minister therefore accept that it is vital that we continue to apply EU standards and regulations in maintaining high-quality produce, which allows it to be considered in an initiative such as the all-Ireland PGI status for grass-fed cattle?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I would be looking to the PGI British status as well, to be perfectly honest, because I want to maximise the opportunities for Northern Ireland beef producers. If you were a beef farmer in the Irish Republic now, you would be envious of the prices that beef farmers in Northern Ireland receive for their beef, which have significantly uplifted since we left the European Union, I might add. The main market for our beef is, of course, the United Kingdom, so we are in a reasonably good position in terms of beef sales. However, I want to have us in the best position possible across the world, so any marketing opportunity that becomes available to me is one that I would be keen to take up.