Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has visited dairy company Al Ain Farms managed by Irish nationals in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today (Thursday, November 30).

The Taoiseach visited the farm to see how Irish people and products are helping the UAE in its efforts to improve its food security and sustainability amid climate change. 

During his visit he saw how Irish assistance and expertise has helped Al Ain Farms to become one of the largest fresh milk producers in the UAE with 6,000 cows on site. 

The visit took place before the Taoiseach will attend the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai, which formally begins tomorrow (Friday, December 1).

Taoiseach visits Al Ain Farms

Its dairy operation is headed up by Irish nationals David Kirwan, the chief operating officer, and Pat McElroy, who runs the dairy cow farm.

During the tour the Taoiseach saw Irish products being used on site in the cattle dairy section, and was shown the unusual sight of the camel milking parlour. 

The Taoiseach invited the farm to send a delegation to Ireland to meet with agricultural experts and share best practice. 

Irish expertise has helped to ensure that the animals are well cared for in the UAE climate, and Al Ain Farms is also keen to learn more from Ireland’s expertise in sustainability.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visiting Al Ain Farms in Abu Dhabi. Source: Phil Behan, Department of Foreign Affairs

Many Irish companies trade with Al Ain Farms, including Connolly Feed Mills, which supplies feed for its camels, and Celtic Seaweed Minerals, which provide cattle supplements.

Irish companies, including Combilift and Crossland Tankers have supplied machinery, among many others.

The farm sponsors the local Al Ain GAA Club. Many Irish students have done placements at the farm since its foundation in 1981.