Irish agri-businesses wanting to develop opportunities in China must have a presence on the ground, according to Alltech Director Mark Lyons.

Speaking to Agriland at a reception hosted by Ireland’s Ambassador to China Paul Kavanagh and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Minister Simon Coveney, for Chinese agri-food leaders, the Alltech representative also pointed to the extremely fast moving pace at which the various business sectors within China are developing.

“We established a permanent presence in China two years ago,” he said.

“China is now our third largest market, one which has delivered 60% growth for Alltech since 2012.

“Our business strategy has been focussed on the principle of forging strong relationships with industry leaders and backing this up with a series of joint research and development ventures. We have also established a strong working relationship with China’s Agriculture University.

“We have been very open in allowing our products to be trialled independently under commercial farming conditions in China. At one level this comes with an inherent risk. But the potential pay-off in taking this approach is more than considerable.”

Mark Lyons also pointed to the tremendous potential for growth within China’s agri production sector. “The scale of the industry is breath taking,” he said.

“The Chinese government is committed to delivering higher levels of food security over the coming years. In practical terms this means harnessing and utilising the latest thinking and technologies across the entire spectrum of animal breeding, husbandry and nutrition. And it is in this context that Irish agri businesses can play a key role.

“But none of this can be achieved remotely from Ireland. The Chinese work on the basis of developing trust with the people and companies they do business with. Specifically, they respect the effort made by foreign companies in committing to the establishment of an on-the-ground presence in their country.”