Processors to export pig trotters to China
Northern Ireland could soon be exporting pig trotters to China, according to Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill.
The region has been provisionally recommended by the Chinese authorities for approval to export pork, potentially opening up one of the world's biggest agri-food markets to local farmers for the first time.
Northern Ireland's two pork processors have to complete a number of "remedial actions" before the opening up of the export market gets the green light.
"I am delighted that China's certification agency, the CNCA, has announced its intention to approve plants in the north of Ireland to export pork subject to them completing some remedial actions identified as part of their audit earlier this year," the Minister said.
"My officials are working closely with the two pork processors to ensure this work is progressed expeditiously and to a very high standard.
"This welcome step forward follows my third visit to China in June, which was focused on negotiating these vital pork approvals. I am pleased that my efforts have borne fruit. Securing approval was also made possible by us hosting two inward inspections by Chinese officials in April of this year."
Ms O'Neill said the local pork industry has been seeking access to the Chinese market for several years.
"I also look forward to the north being able to extend this trade in the future to cover the export of pig trotters and additional pork products."
Welcoming the news, Ulster Farmers Union chief executive Ian Marshall said the move will potentially open up a market of 1.3 billion consumers.