Minister Creed to lead trade mission to Asia this year to promote Irish food and drink

The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, is planning a trade mission to China, Vietnam and Singapore in September to promote Irish food and drink in Asia.

It is also understood that the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan is also planning a trip to Asia later this year.

Speaking in the Dail this week, in response to questions from Fine Gael’s Bernard J. Durkan, Minister Creed said he was acutely aware of the need to develop as many market outlets as possible for Irish meat and dairy products.

“I will continue to work with stakeholders to raise the profile of the Irish meat and dairy sectors, and the Irish agrifood sector generally, in emerging markets in the Far East, North Africa, the Gulf States and elsewhere,” said Minister Creed.

The target in Food Wise 2025 is to increase the overall value of Irish agrifood exports by 85% to €19 billion by 2025.

Irish agrifood exports have increased from less than €8 billion in 2010 to an estimated €10.8 billion in 2015 according to the Minister.

“Dairy exports in 2015 were valued at over €3.2 billion and the dairy sector is by a number of measures the country’s largest indigenous industry.

2015 was also a very successful year for meat exports. According to Bord Bia, overall exports of beef, sheepmeat and pigmeat increased by €130 million to €3.2 billion,” said Minister Creed.

Third Country markets are an increasingly important alternative outlet for the industry.

The development of new and alternative markets, given the changing global demographics and emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere, is a crucial component of the Food Wise 2025 Strategy.

According to the Minister in the medium to long term future global demographics will result in strong global demand for meat and dairy products.

The Minister declared it his role to facilitate market access so that Irish exporters can take advantage of business opportunities as they arise.

“My Department engages on an ongoing basis with many third countries, in collaboration with Bord Bia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Irish Embassies, the industry and the European Commission on various market access issues.

“I am acutely aware of the need to continuously develop relationships in new and expanding markets in order to build upon the kind of confidence in Irish production and control systems that provide a platform for long-term trading relationships in the future,” said Minister Creed.

Minister Creed’s predecessor Simon Coveney had planned on visiting Asia late last year and had lead a trade mission to China in 2014.

Speaking on that trade mission, Coveney said exports of food and drink from Ireland to China are set to increase tenfold over the next decade.

He said that food and drink exports to China will amount to around €500m in 2015, double what it was in 2012. He also predicted that he could see no reason why the value of food and drink exports from Ireland to China cannot reach €5 billion by 2025.