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Brexit affects sales of Irish organic beef


UK’s decision to leave the European Union has adversely affected the sales of Irish organic beef. According to the Director of Good Herdsmen Ltd -the largest dedicated organic meat processor in Ireland and the UK- John Purcell, the sales for Irish organic beef has come under pressure since the UK decided to leave the European Union.  John Purcell was delivering a speech at a recent organic farm walk in Co. Offaly. He said that the waning of Pound has made the organic beef trade problematic in the UK. Britain is the largest market for Good Herdsmen Ltd.

Good Herdsmen has organic slaughter facilities in Cahir and Clones which has a capacity to slaughter 6000 cattle per year. After the Brexit vote, the total sales of organic beef deteriorated by forty percent, thanks to the fall in the Sterling/euro exchange rate. Good Herdsmen, according to John Purcell had taken precautions to ease uncertainties in regards to the falling value of Sterling by buying forward cattle. But with the drastic collapse of Sterling much adverse than he expected, the Irish organic cattle prices have come under pressure in recent weeks, with prices falling back to 455c/kg this week. Having said, the price for a kilogram of organic Irish beef is still almost €1 higher than normal beef.

Even as the company experience difficulties in UK, it has promising results in Ireland. Organic beef created on Irish farms contends with beef from Germany, Spain and Poland. The Irish system has a distinctive benefit as it centers on steer and heifer carcasses, whereas Polish manufacturers focus on organic bull beef. Prucell added that around twenty percent of the Good Herdsmen processing capacity still comes from the Irish market.

Discount supermarkets Lidl and Aldi are the biggest stockists of Irish organic beef in Ireland despite getting negative media attention. Prucell said, “Aldi started to sell organic beef in September and since then it sells about 3,000kg of organic beef on a weekly basis, while Lidl sells 2,500kg each week”.

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