Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 22 January 2017

Minister Creed leads agri-food trade mission to Morocco and Algeria

Region a key target for Irish agri-food exports

Published 02/11/2016 | 16:56

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A host of Irish agri-food companies on a five-day trade mission to North Africa, commencing today led by the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

  • Go To

Commenting in advance of his departure, Minister Creed said North Africa offers enormous potential for the Irish food and drink industry. 

“Diversification of markets is a key goal of Food Wise 2025 and Africa represents a major potential growth area. This is even more important now as we face the uncertainty which the Brexit decision brings for exporters.

“As Minister I am determined to be proactive in the face of the threat posed to our agri-food sector by Brexit. Securing new markets and consolidating and expanding existing markets for our exports is a key part of this strategy.

“I am pleased to be accompanied by some 10 Irish companies on the mission, along with senior officials from my Department and from State Agencies in the agri-food and fisheries sector, including Bord Bia and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland.”

Morocco

The Minister’s mission commences Wednesday in Morocco where he will be based until Saturday for a series of trade promotion events and political meetings with Moroccan counterparts.

Agri-food exports from Ireland to Morocco last year continued their steady growth and have now almost doubled from around €8m in 2013 to almost €14.5m in 2015.

Also Read


2016 is also looking to be a very positive year so far with almost €13 million in agri-food products exported by the end of July which is almost the entire amount for 2015.

Minister Creed said however, that Ireland  can do better, however, and he wants to raise the profile of Ireland as a producer of top class food and livestock in this region, at both political and commercial level.

“I look forward to meeting my counterpart Minister Aziz Akhannouch in Rabat, and to meeting key contacts in a number of influential state agencies. 

“I am accompanied by Irish exporters in the dairy, meat and livestock sectors.   In this regard I want to develop a platform for strong and growing strategic partnerships between Moroccan and Irish food companies and to provide a political platform for enhanced commercial engagement between Irish companies and potential business partners in this region.”

Algeria

On Friday, senior officials from the Minister’s department will proceed to Algeria, accompanied by Aidan Cotter of Bord Bia and the rest of the business delegation.

The main event will be an Ireland-Algeria agri-food seminar in Algiers on Monday September 5. The event will include speakers from both the Irish and Algerian agri-food sectors.

The value of our exports of agri-food products to Algeria was over €41m in 2015, up from less than €30m a few years earlier. These figures are driven by strong growth in our dairy exports, particularly powders, butter, cheese and caseins. Dairy exports to Algeria in 2015 were over €40m.

Sheepmeat Development

In a major development for the Irish sheep sector, the Minister also signalled his intention to commence the process for securing market access for Irish sheepmeat into Morocco and Algeria during the visit.

Sheepmeat exports from Ireland in 2015 were worth more than €230m (46,000 tonnes) and Ireland exported sheepmeat to over 40 countries last year.

Commenting on this, the Minister said securing new market access is always a priority for our meat sectors.

“While we have market access for beef to both countries, we would very much like to add Morocco and Algeria to that list of Countries accepting sheepmeat.

“Our lamb is world famous and sold in over 40 countries now and I will be raising the issue of sheepmeat access in meetings in political meetings in both Countries,” he said.

Online Editors