DUBAI, 11th February, 2022 (WAM) — Leading Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board’s first trade mission to the Gulf region since the start of the pandemic, the Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and Navy, Charlie McConalogue TD, will travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week from February 13-17.
Ireland exports agri-food products to over 180 countries worldwide, reaching €13.5 billion in 2021. The industry-led strategy for agri-food sector growth, Food Vision 2030, provides a roadmap ambitious and clear plan for the development of the sector and increases this value to 21 billion euros by 2030.
Bord Bia has identified the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as priority markets, together accounting for 50% of current Irish trade in the Gulf region. In 2021, exports to the Middle East were estimated at €311 million, led by dairy products and dairy ingredients worth €272 million, followed by consumer foods at €21 million . Skimmed milk powder (FFMP) and infant food are the top dairy product categories, while ice cream, juices and meal solutions dominate the consumer food category in the Middle East.
Signifying the importance placed on the region, McConalogue will be joined by Ailish Forde, Bord Bia’s Global Business Development Manager, who will lead a delegation of 14 Irish dairy, meat and consumer food exporters on the mission. commercial.
McConalogue said: “Ireland’s Food Vision 2030 strategy sets a strong ambition for future growth in the value of Irish agri-food exports to €21 billion by 2030. It is based on our premium food products , safe and sustainably produced, with family farms as the foundation of our food system.The current market dynamics of the Gulf region, including high GDP and increased consumer purchasing power, will make it a market of increasingly important to our export-oriented food industry.
During the UAE leg of the trade mission, McConalogue will visit Irish exporters attending Gulfood, the region’s largest annual food, beverage and hospitality trade show. Bord Bia has been showcasing leading Irish food and beverage brands at Gulfood every year since 2015. The trade mission will also include a visit to Expo 2020 Dubai during its Food, Agriculture and Tourism themed week. Livelihoods, where the delegation will be part of a series of client seminars and panel discussions organized by Bord Bia at the Irish Pavilion. During the visit, McConalogue and Forde will also unveil a new chef based in the United Arab Emirates, joining the Emirati chapter of the Chefs’ Irish Beef Club (CIBC), launched in 2017 and the first chapter outside Europe.
During the KSA portion of the trade mission, McConalogue and Forde will meet Hisham Bin Saad Al-Jadhey, CEO of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and visit Almarai headquarters. It will include the announcement of Origin Green Ambassador’s placement in the company. Bord Bia’s Origin Green is the only sustainability program of its kind in the world that works on a national scale by uniting government, the private sector and food and beverage producers.
Tara McCarthy, Managing Director of Bord Bia, said: “The Middle East region represents a great opportunity for Irish food and drink producers. It is a market that values high quality products and where Ireland is recognized for its excellence in producing sustainable products. Our new Bord Bia strategy for the Middle East which will be announced next week as part of the trade mission will provide a roadmap for our ambitions over the next week to significantly increase Irish exports.
Kieran Fitzgerald is the new regional manager for the Middle East at Bord Bia’s office in Dubai.