Paddy’s Day: ‘Government must be proactive to push world-beating Irish food’

The promotional opportunity offered to Irish beef and food in general by the Taoiseach’s current visit to the United States has been welcomed by the Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Lauding the occasion, ICMSA president Pat McCormack has also called for all Irish state delegations and St. Patrick’s Day visits by Irish ministers to take a much more proactive approach to promoting Irish food.

McCormack said that, as the prospect of losing some degree of our traditional UK markets draws closer, it is incumbent upon all Irish officials to “actively promote our superb food as we seek replacement markets”.

The president added that Irish grass-based beef and dairy exports particularly are of “world-beating standards” and Irish agricultural stakeholders have to move past the idea that actively promoting Irish food was exclusively the business of Bord Bia.

Instead such stakeholders must realise that the indigenous business of Ireland was food production and all agencies of the state must be cognisant of this and work towards securing new markets and new customers, he stressed.

Ministers abroad

Government ministers currently abroad promoting Irish food exports includes Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, who is in the UK for the week with Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy.

Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado, with Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, and Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy will launch a new Bord Bia Insight Centre in London this week during their visit to the UK for St. Patrick’s Day events.

The visit will also see them engage with the leaders of some of the UK’s foremost businesses, key customers of Irish food and drink, to reinforce Ireland’s commitment as a supplier and to discuss the progress of these business relationships into the future.

This activity underlines the value of the UK for Irish food and drinks exports – estimated at over €4.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Minister of State Andrew Doyle began a four-day visit to Vietnam yesterday (Wednesday, March 14) to strengthen bilateral links and build trade opportunities with the Asian nation.

Vietnam imports around 700,000t of beef per annum, making it a potential option for future Irish beef exports.