The Irish dairy industry must project a united front in developing the undoubted trade opportunities that exist in China, according to ICMSA President John Comer.

He made these comments in Beijing during the Food and Drink Trade Deputation visit to China.

“We already know that branding is crucially important when it comes to doing business on the Chinese market. And, in this context, Origin Green ticks all the boxes. So it is important for both Bord Bía and the Irish Dairy Board to take ownership of this brand concept and develop it accordingly,” he said.

“I do not want to see individual dairy processors competing with each other, as they strive to gain increased market share in China. That’s a road to nowhere. Nor do I want to see Irish companies going head-to-head with the likes of Fonterra. Again, that’s another dead end when it comes to adding real value to Irish dairy products.”

He said the challenge ahead is that of ensuring that Irish dairy processors can secure a margin well in excess of 10% when it comes to trading with China. “If this cannot be achieved it’s hard to see why we would want to do business with the country in the first place.

“The bottom line within all of this is to ensure that doing business with China helps deliver a better milk price for Irish dairy farmers.

“This is why communicating the ethics that underpins ‘Origin Green’ is so important. Irish milk producers are paying the tab when it comes to the development of market opportunities for our dairy products in countries around the world, including China.

“So it is crucially important that they see a tangible result when it comes to establishing a real when it comes to the Irish dairy sector developing a presence in the Chinese market.”