Ireland to export beef, sheepmeat and poultry to Qatar

Irish agri-food exports to Qatar amounted to €8.8m in 2017

Ireland to export beef, sheepmeat and poultry to Qatar

The skyline of Doha, Qatar is seen in January 2018 | Image: Sven Hoppe/DPA/PA Images

Irish meat and meat products are to be made available on the Qatari market.

It comes after agreement was reached with Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health, which will allow for the importation into Qatar of Irish beef, sheepmeat and poultry.

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has welcomed the move.

He said: "The opening of this new market is a reflection of the confidence the Qatari authorities have in the rigorous controls and high standards of food safety we have in Ireland."

"The opening of the Qatari market is the result of on-going efforts by my department, the Irish ambassador accredited to Qatar and the agricultural attaché in the Gulf Region in recent times."

The market is being opened to boneless beef, sheepmeat and poultry, both meat and meat products.

Irish agri-food exports to Qatar totalled €8.8m in 2017, of which around 70% were dairy exports.

File photo

According to some market research estimates, the Qatari meat market is expected to become a million tonne market by 2020.

Due to lower domestic production levels, meat imports are increasingly significant.

Sheepmeat is particularly popular, at around 35% of total meat consumption.

Back in June last year, neigbouring states Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut off diplomatic ties with the state.

The blockade saw major impacts for Qatar, including essential trade being cut off and many flights suspended.

A number of reasons were claimed for the blockade - including Qatar's relations with Iran; Arab states' concerns over the Doha-based Al Jazeera news station and the Qatari state's alleged support of terrorist and extremist groups.

Qatar denies the claims.