Coveney meets Fonterra officials

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has held meetings with senior officials from Fonterra, the New Zealand farmer-owned cooperative and the world’s leading dairy exporter. The meetings were among the final elements of the Ministers week-long visit to visit to Australia and New Zealand over the St. Patrick’s Day period.

According to a statement released this morning, the meeting followed on from discussions held earlier in the visit with Minister Coveney’s New Zealand counterpart, Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries. It is understood that Minister Coveney’s meeting with Fonterra focussed on the growing demand worldwide for protein-based products in view of the expected increase in world population to 9 billion by 2050. New Zealand and Ireland play a major role in ensuring that dairy products are produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

Durning the meetings the Minister pointed out the similarities between the two countries regarding carbon emissions. Within the EU, Ireland has the lowest carbon emissions from its dairy production. New Zealand’s food products are also highly carbon efficient.

Minister Coveney also drew comparisons between the climatic conditions in Ireland and New Zealand, both very favourable in terms of milk production. He highlighted how Ireland had produced roughly the same volume of milk as New Zealand at the time of the introduction of milk quotas in 1984, roughly 5 billion litres, while New Zealand now produces up to 17 billion litres of milk each year. Following the abolition of EU milk quotas, Ireland’s target is to increase its milk production by 50 per cent.

Minister Coveney said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity during this visit to New Zealand to meet Minister Guy and Fonterra to learn of the experience here in ramping up dairy production. The lessons learned here in New Zealand have direct relevance for Ireland’s targeted 50 per cent increase in milk production, following next year’s removal of EU quotas in this vitally important sector.

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