Darragh McCullough: China needs food -- we're perfectly placed to sell it
Published 20/02/2012 | 05:00
SO why did the future head of a nation of 1.3 billion people bother to visit a small dairy farm in Clare yesterday? Vice President Xi Jinping is interested in food-production systems here because ensuring a secure supply of trustworthy food is one of the key challenges facing burgeoning economies such as China, India and Brazil.
It's for exactly this reason that our agri-food sector is one of the most optimistic places to be right now. Ten years ago, many thought the farm sector here was a sunset sector with profits falling in the face of cheap food imports.
That's all changed with the rise and rise of the so-called 'Bric' economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China). As millions of people in these economies see their incomes rise, they want more of what the west already has. In most cases, this starts with a switch to richer diets based more on meat and dairy products than traditional grains and vegetables.