Irish government and Bord Bía in €3.75m pact to unlock Asia

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Ireland hopes to make inroads in Asia
Ireland hopes to make inroads in Asia
Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, alongside food board Bord Bía, will spend €3.75m over three years to promote red meat sales in China, Japan and Hong Kong.

The campaign marks Ireland’s first major initiative under a new EU-wide funding push, which will see the continent’s top agricultural products funded by Brussels for international sales expansion.

The EU has committed €3m in funding for the campaign and Bord Bía will invest the remaining €750,000.

A multi-channel approach will see Ireland drum up understanding of food safety, quality assurance and the sustainability of European grass-fed beef and lamb in Asia.

Bord Bía and indeed the Irish government hope that, in doing so, they will be able to unlock China for beef and lamb exports.

Securing markets access for Irish lamb in China is a top priority for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which has held talks with Chinese representatives recently.

“This is the first Irish programme approved under the new EU promotion regime,”​ said the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

“I am delighted to see EU recognition and financial support for an attractive industry programme to raise awareness among Chinese and Japanese consumers of the versatility and nutritional value of European beef and lamb.”

Creed added: “Identifying market opportunities, building awareness and securing business in a more diversified range of markets has never been more important to the future of our quality food production.”

Minister Creed also said “Brexit presents a unique challenge”​, adding that government and Bord Bía were working with the agri-food sector to forge strong ties with global trading partners.

In the past year, Ireland has exported 1,500 tonnes (t) of beef to Hong Kong and 1,200t of beef to Japan.

This market for Irish beef has grown “extremely quickly”​ according to the Irish government, which won market access in 2013.

Bord Bía chief executive Tara McCarthy said the campaign would target a range of players in the industry; importers, retailers foodservice providers, chefs and media organisations are on the levy board’s hit list.

“This additional funding has enabled us to significant intensify our promotional work in the Asian market,”​ said McCarthy.

She added that 20 Chinese delegates are due to visit Ireland over the next three years as part of the campaign.

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