Economic view: Trade missions no substitute for boots on the ground
Published 18/11/2015 | 02:30
If farmers are to feel the benefit of global exports in their pockets, brand-building exercises such as the upcoming Irish trade mission to West Africa must be matched by serious commitments from exporters to markets that will pay for a high-value food product.
The value of internationally-traded agri-food products has more than doubled over the last decade and exceeds €700bn.
Most of the growth in demand is taking place in emerging and developing markets where demographics, social trends and income growth are leading to increased demand for food.
This particular growth trend is primarily of interest to countries that can produce low-cost food commodities.
Another emerging market trend - that is of greater interest to exporters from high-cost countries such as Ireland - is the growing segment of discerning middle-class consumers, who value a high-quality and traceable product.
It is important that exporters identify the kind of growth market with which they are dealing.
For example, the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) is an attractive market in terms of population and income growth.
More than 75pc of the world's population growth over the next 15 years will come from this region, which has a forecasted average economic growth rate of 8.4pc, which will facilitate a 35pc increase in per-capita GDP over the next five years.