Chinese visit a shot in the arm for exports
Momentum on increasing Irish food exports got a further shot in the arm last week, following the successful visit of another high-ranking Chinese official to key agri-food locations.
Vice-Minister Gao Hongbin, from China's Agriculture Ministry, began a four-day visit with a meeting and working dinner with Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney in the Dail.
Following this, officials announced a follow-up visit by key technical personnel in China's quarantine ministry, the AQSIQ, to Ireland in the next three weeks.
The hope is that, following an examination of the controls in beef production here by a full technical team, Ireland may be able to circumvent a ban on beef from the European Union entering China.
On Wednesday, Mr Gao's day was dominated by a visit to Teagasc Moorepark, where he was given tours of Irish cattle housing, milking systems and pasture-based milk production.
This was followed by detailed presentations of Irish progress on genomics in breeding, and an overview of cutting edge research facilities in the national imaging centre and biofunctional food engineering units.
On Thursday, Mr Gao is reported to have visited ABP's Cahir meat processing facility.