Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue will meet with representatives of the governments of both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia when he leads an Irish trade mission over the coming days.

This will be Ireland’s first physical trade mission since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister stressed the strategic importance of the Gulf region in southwest Asia as a market for Irish food exports, saying Bord Bia has done “tremendous work” in developing the region.

“This trade mission reflects the ambition in the Food Vision 2030 strategy to further develop valuable market opportunities for our quality, safe and sustainable food produce.”

“I believe that the Gulf region offers significant value growth potential for Irish food exports. I’m excited to meet buyers in the region and tell them of the world class food produced by our exceptional farm families as well as our innovative processors and marketeers,” Minister McConalogue added.

“The Gulf region is the food crossroads of the world and we will take every opportunity to tell the great story of Irish food,” he highlighted.

The minister’s schedule will encompass Gulfood 2022 in Dubai (in the UAE), one of the world’s largest food fairs; a two-day trade mission to Saudi Arabia; and will conclude with his participation in the Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods week at EXPO 2020 back in Dubai, where Ireland is one of 85 countries with a national pavilion.

The mission will include government meetings in both countries; engagements facilitated by Bord Bia with Irish food companies and their trade customers; and meetings and events across the dairy, meat, prepared foods, and the horse-racing sectors.

As well as the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI) will also participate in the trade mission.

The mission has been organised in cooperation with the Embassies of Ireland in Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE) and Riyadh (the capital of Saudi Arabia).

The Department of Agriculture has appointed an agricultural attaché to the Embassy of Ireland in the UAE, “in recognition of the importance of the Gulf region”.

“I hope that this mission will serve to build on and promote Ireland’s global reputation in agri-food, which is built on the foundation of Irish family farms, producing quality and sustainable produce,” Minister McConalogue added.