Farm Ireland

Friday 20 January 2017

Trade mission to tap into North African markets

Published 19/10/2016 | 06:00

The is significant growth potential for the Kerrygold brand, according to an Ornua spokesperson
The is significant growth potential for the Kerrygold brand, according to an Ornua spokesperson

Expanding exports of dairy produce and kick-starting the live cattle trade will be the focus for a major trade mission to Morocco and Algeria, which takes place in the first week of November.

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The mission is being organised by Bord Bia and headed up by the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and is expected to include the main dairy processors, as well as live exporters.

While the exact itinerary of the trip has yet to be released, the five-day visit kicks off on November 2 and runs until November 7.

As the two most populous states in North Africa outside of Egypt - Algeria has a population of over 40m, while Morocco has more than 34m consumers - the countries represent a sizeable market.

Algeria is the second largest importer of milk powder in the world after China and already imports more than 9,000t of Irish cheese each year, valued at €25m. Exports of skimmed milk powder and whole milk powder are valued at €8m. Meanwhile, Morocco imported around €8m worth of dairy produce in 2015.

A spokesperson for Ornua pointed out that Algeria was an important market for the company, with an established branded presence across milk powder, butter and cheese.

"We see significant opportunity for growth [in Algeria] for the Kerrygold brand and with milk powder, but the market is very competitive," a spokesperson told Farming Independent.

Live shippers were not as optimistic of good news from the trip. One shipper pointed out that the live trade for stores and weanlings to North Africa had totally collapsed.

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Just five trucks or 295 head were exported to Morocco in 2015. Up to the start of October this year, the figure stood at 180 head.

"Moroccan buyers are able to source cheaper cattle in France and the export costs are not as high," a shipper explained.

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