Minister to lead trade mission to promote Irish products in UAE


Leading Bord Bia’s first trade mission to the Gulf region since the start of Covid-19, Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue will travel with Bord Bia this weekend. Bia in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). .

He will be joined by 14 Irish food and drink companies to launch Bord Bia’s new three-year business strategy for the region.

Despite market volatility due to Covid-19 on trade, Bord Bia said Irish companies’ exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were valued at 155 million euros last year.

UAE Market Opportunities

Bord Bia has identified Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as priority markets in the region, together accounting for 50% of current Irish trade in the Gulf region.

In 2021, Irish food and drink exports to the wider Middle East market were valued at €311 million, comprising dairy products and dairy ingredients worth €272 million, followed by consumer food at €21 million.

Bord Bia’s new three-year strategy sets a target of €380 million in Irish food and drink exports to the wider Middle East region by 2025, led by dairy and consumer foods.

In this plan, Ireland will target exports of more than €100 million to Saudi Arabia and €85 million to the United Arab Emirates by 2025.

According to Bord Bia, the main objectives of the trade mission with the Minister of Agriculture over the coming week are:

  • To help create business opportunities for Irish exporters of dairy products and consumer foods in the region;
  • Improving government-to-government engagement in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia;
  • Enhance Ireland’s reputation as a trusted supplier and trading partner for high quality, sustainably produced food and drink products.

Ailish Forde, Director of Global Business Development, Bord Bia, said:

“The Gulf region represents high potential growth opportunities for Irish food and drink producers, 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 region provides a roadmap for our ambitions to significantly increase Irish exports. Sustainability is at the heart of all of Bord Bia’s work over the next three years and strengthening sustainability is a strategic enabler for the industry.

She said that in a region where up to 80-90% of food is imported, food security remains a key strategic and political priority for the Gulf States.

“Currently, 43 million people live in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and by 2050 that figure is expected to rise to 58 million,” Forde added.

“Population growth has played and will continue to play an important role in increasing food demand and food imports.

“Despite the successes in developing national food production capacities, these countries will remain largely dependent on imported food. Ireland is uniquely positioned to meet this demand and, through Origin Green, can provide the perfect solution to the growing demands of consumers whose changing eating habits mean they are increasingly aware of the need to buy sustainably produced food.


Bord Bia said the UAE continued to be an important market for the premiumisation of Irish beef.

During the five-day trade mission, Bord Bia plans to inaugurate a new member of the Chefs’ Irish Beef Club (CIBC) in the Dubai chapter.

CIBC is an exclusive international forum that brings together some of the world’s most prominent chefs who collectively endorse Irish beef.

Speaking ahead of the trade mission, Minister McConalogue said:

“Our Food Vision 2030 strategy sets a strong ambition for future growth in the value of Irish agri-food exports to €21 billion by 2030, based on our premium, safe and sustainably produced food products, with family farms as the foundation of our food system.

“The current market dynamics of the Gulf region, including high GDP [gross domestic product] and increasing consumer purchasing power, will make it an increasingly important market for our export-oriented food industry.

The trade mission will include Gulfood, the world’s largest annual food, beverage and hospitality trade show (February 13-17), and a visit to the Food, Agriculture and Livelihoods at EXPO 2020 (February 17-23).

During these events, the delegation will participate in a series of client seminars and roundtables organized by Bord Bia at the Irish pavilion.

Through these events, Bord Bia said he is investing in direct business conversion by targeting retail, foodservice and manufacturing buyers during the five-day mission.

This will be reinforced by 15 additional C-Suite meetings with existing and targeted customers to profile Irish sustainable food and drink suppliers and showcase their innovative business capabilities.

In addition, one of the main objectives of the trade mission will be a meeting in Dubai with the Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates, HE Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, and a meeting in Riyadh with the Minister Environment, Water and Agriculture, Abdulrahman Abdulmohsen. A. AlFadley, as well as the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, all with the aim of improving market access for Irish exporters.

During the trade mission, there will also be a three-week retail promotion with high-end supermarket Spinneys, which will focus on quality and sustainability from Irish suppliers and manufacturers.

Spinneys is a multinational supermarket chain active in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon, Oman and Pakistan.


Comments are closed.