THE Irish food industry is ramping up efforts to double food exports to the Middle East by opening up a number of offices in the region over the coming months.
The Kerry Group is set to announce today that it is to open a new office in Dubai. The development comes hot on the heels of a Bord Bia statement that they will also open a full-time office in the region.
Our biggest food producers are investing heavily in the Gulf to capture a growing market that includes some of the richest countries in the world.
Ireland's biggest meat processors are also well represented on the trip, with new opportunities opening up in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for many high-end restaurants following the end of a ban on Irish beef and sheep meat exports.
Bord Bia predicts that Irish food exports to the Gulf region will double to €500m of annual sales by 2020.
However, following meetings with several government ministers, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney said that he believed the sector was poised to go way beyond that.
"The opportunities are huge," he said.