Irish farmers are demanding price rises as China expands its international import markets for meat to replace the millions of pigs killed by African swine fever this year.

IFA president, Galway based Joe Healy, insists that access to Chinese markets must deliver a return above the cost of production for Irish farmers.

It comes as the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed leads a trade visit to China this week with Bord Bia.

According to today’s Irish Independent, the demand for beef in China is said to be boosting prices, business and profits for European and South American meat-packers as it re-shapes global markets for pork, beef and chicken.

Rabobank estimates that China's pig herd, the world's largest, fell by 50pc in the first eight months of this year.

With 21 Irish plants approved, industry sources here say Irish beef exports to China could now rise to 28,000 tonne, worth up to €170m annually.

Dawn Meats expects to supply €5m worth of beef a year, following recent audits that gave a number of its plants approval to export.

However, competition in China is set to heat up, with many more meat plants in Argentina and Brazil having recently been approved to export.



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