Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Micheal Creed T.D. today concluded the agri food trade mission to Asia which included some 30 of Ireland’s leading agri-food and agri-service companies, after visiting Singapore. The last day of the visit featured a meeting with Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee, a key political figure in Singapore, as well as a number of high profile events in Singapore, an important trading, transport, manufacturing and logistical hub for the entire South East Asian region, with an overall population of over 600 million.
Speaking before his departure from Singapore, where he hosted a special event to showcase Irish food to mark the official opening of the Bord Bia South East Asia Regional Office based in the Embassy of Ireland Singapore, the Minister said: “I was delighted to open the new Bord Bia office in Singapore. This represents an important strengthening of their presence in Asia, in recognition of the growing demand and opportunities for Irish agri-food exports in the region. I was pleased to showcase the very best of Irish food including beef, pork, duck, lamb, salmon, cheese and yoghurts to a hand-picked audience of influential food industry representatives from Singapore. This was an important networking event also and will help to establish Bord Bia firmly on the radar of the retail sector and buyers in the food industry here.”
The Minister’s other engagements included the launch of Glenisk Yoghurt during his visit to an NTUC Fairprice outlet, Singapore’s largest retailer with over 290 outlets in Singapore and a meeting with the CEO of the Kerry Asia Pacific Group, before touring their Asia Pacific Technology and Innovation Centre.
The Minister said; “Kerry is an excellent example of an Irish Food Company with a worldwide presence. It was great to visit their state of the art Research & Development facility as they continue to cement their reputation in the region and highlight their success story to milk suppliers in Ireland. Although there is volatility in the dairy sector at present, sites such as this serve to demonstrate the global reach of Irish dairy exports worldwide. Continuing to diversify and grow markets abroad, a crucial component of this trade mission, will help to mitigate market risk for Irish operators. This also chimes with the theme of Food Wise 2025 – that of local roots with a global reach.”
Another Irish success story in terms of exports to Singapore, where Irish duck commands a premium, is Silver Hill Duck. In conjunction with a renowned local restaurant chain, that uses Irish sourced duck and other produce, they hosted the Minister to formally close out the Trade Mission. The Minister said; “Whilst political meetings formed an important component of the trade mission, the participation of so many Irish food companies was a significant factor in its success. It was great to have the opportunity to provide a platform for Irish companies to engage with potential customers and buyers abroad. In order to continue exporting great Irish food abroad it is important for Government, including the network of Irish Embassies, agencies and industry to work closely together as partners. This trade mission has been a perfect example on that kind of positive collaboration.”
Congratulating the agencies involved in organising the Trade Mission the Minister said “this trade mission was an excellent example of multi agency cooperation between the Department, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and the Irish embassies in China, Vietnam, Korea and Singapore to strengthen our trading interests in emerging markets and to use our resources to maximum economic benefit.”
Concluding the Trade Mission, Minister Creed remarked “my 24,637km round trip over four days to Beijing, Shanghai and Singapore coupled with Minister of State Doyle’s efforts in Vietnam and South Korea has exposed the Irish agri-food and agri-tech sector’s to a growing market of 1.5 billion people. Creating new markets and building on existing trading relationships are key, particularly in the context of the UK’s decision to exit the EU. We have ambitious targets for food exports growth set out in FoodWise 2025. I have been hugely encouraged by the reaction our Trade Mission participants have received on this trip and I’m confident that this mission can act as a catalyst for continued growth in this important strategic region.”
Concurring with Minister Creed’s sentiments Minister of State Andrew Doyle said “this has been a good week for the Irish agri-food and agri-service industry with over 42 companies participating in this trade mission. Our Origin Green story has resonated everywhere we have travelled, where there is a real desire for safe, secure and crucially sustainably produced food.“