A dairy-focused trade mission to Southeast Asia will be hosted in the coming weeks, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.

The minister, along with Minister of State with responsibility for new market development Martin Heydon, is “engaging in a series of market development and promotion events on key international markets”, in collaboration with Bord Bia and the Irish Embassy network.

Speaking today as they launched the Department of Agriculture Market Access Report 2019-2020, both ministers drew attention to the overall growth in agri-food exports to international markets in recent years.

Overall, agricultural exports to countries outside of Europe have increased from around €3.7 billion to €4.3 billion in the period 2016 to 2019. This represents an increase of €627 million or 17% in a four-year timeframe.

Between 2010 and 2019, agricultural exports to international markets increased as an overall proportion of our total agri-exports, from 23% to 30%.

Minister McConalogue commented: “Over the next few weeks, my department and Bord Bia will host a dairy-focused virtual trade mission to Southeast Asia, covering Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bord Bia’s research has identified strong potential for export growth to these markets. In a world of uncertainty, meaningful engagement with Ireland’s growing customer base throughout the world is more important than ever.

“This innovative approach, in bringing trade missions online, creates an opportunity to further deepen trading relationships between Ireland and key customers in these regions.”

CEO of Bord Bia Tara McCarthy commented: “The Southeast Asia region is of strategic importance to Bord Bia’s dairy client companies, importing up to 2.6m metric tonnes of dairy ingredients from global markets in 2019.

“This virtual trade mission aims to confidently present Ireland as a dynamic supplier of high-quality, safe and sustainable dairy, ideally positioned to meet this growing dairy demand in the region.”

McCarthy said that approximately 250 interested buyers have been secured, following a canvassing and pre-screening process.

She continued:

The 13 Irish dairy exporters, who will take part in online business-to-business meetings, will be front and centre during these five days, allowing us to build Ireland’s reputation as a global player in sustainable dairy solutions to key buyers.

In addition to the Southeast Asia Trade Mission, both ministers participated with Bord Bia and department officials in business meetings with key customers in China, Japan, the US and the United Arab Emirates.

Minister McConalogue said: “It was great to hear first-hand the enthusiasm of consumers for Irish food and drink products in these markets, built on a reputation for quality, taste and sustainability.”

Dairy-focused Virtual Trade Mission to Southeast Asia

Spanning five dates across November 24 to 26 and December 1 to 3, the department will host a virtual dairy trade mission to the region of Southeast Asia, focusing on Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

This dairy-focused trade mission will see 13 of Ireland’s processors and exporters engage in business-to-business meetings with local buyers and distributors allowing them to market their products and capabilities to a commercial dairy audience.

Minister McConalogue, Minister Heydon and McCarthy, along with the Ambassador of Ireland to each country, will address audiences in each market – reinforcing the “attributes of Ireland’s grass-based dairy system and family farm structure, and our dairy processors’ stringent food production standards and capabilities”.

The Southeast Asia region is of strategic importance to Irish dairy companies and collectively these five markets have doubled their imports of Irish dairy products since 2015, with 2019 exports worth close to €164 million.