Beef Farmers Have a Steak in Middle East's Revolutions
Byline: Paul Kelly Consumer Affairs Editor
THE drama of the Arab Spring is helping to bring a boom to the economy here, thanks to our beef producers.
As the economies of Egypt, Tunisia and war-racked Libya recover, cattle farmers are expecting a huge increase in demand.
Michael Doran, livestock chairman of the Irish Farmers' Association, said the Government was working on an agreement with the Egyptians to export beef there.
He added that there are agreements already in place with Turkey and Morocco. 'Oil prices are up and Middle Eastern countries have massive amounts of revenue to buy food so we are seeing demand start to come from there,' he said.
European producers benefited as they are closer to the Middle East countries so they have lower transport costs than rival farmers in Australia and South America.
The good news for the industry comes at a time when consumers here are enjoying lower prices for Irish quality beef - even though the costs in the European markets are at their highest in 30 years, due to shortages.
Farmers are getting between [euro]2.50 and [euro]3 per kg on wholesale markets as a result of the popularity of Irish beef in Britain, Europe and China. The IFA said farms were getting only [euro]1.50 to [euro]1.70 per kg of beef three years ago.
Mr Doran said wholesale prices had gone up because there were shortages of beef at a time of rising demand in Europe and beyond. …