THE North Cork region has the potential to reap huge benefits through closer ties with Japan, particularly in the dairy and life-sciences industries.
That's the view of Junior Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, who has just returned from a trade mission to Japan.
Representatives from both Teagasc and Dairygold, both of which have a strong presence in the North Cork region, were among 14 agencies and companies that travelled with the delegation.
The key focus of the mission was to examine the potential for exporting socalled 'functional foods' to the Japanese market. These are foods that contain added ingredients aimed at the lucrative areas of nutrition and health.
Minister Sherlock said the functional food sector was a rapidly emerging field within food science, due to their increasing popularity with health-conscious consumers.
He pointed out that the Japanese market for functional foods is estimated to be worth in excess of €8 billion.
"The presence of Teagasc and Dairygold on the trade mission allowed those entities the opportunity to explore the opportunity of forging out into new markets and creating more Irish jobs," he said.