Market development – developing new markets and growing existing markets on the basis of market insights – is one of the five themes of Food Wise 2025, the ten-year strategy for the Irish agri-food sector. Market development and diversification is also a key response to the challenges which Brexit poses for the agri-food sector, particularly for the beef sector.
My Department is continuously working towards opening and enhancing market access for Irish beef to key markets outside the EU.
In April 2017, I launched a seven-point action plan on market access. This is being implemented through a variety of actions, including:
- A market prioritisation exercise and subsequent detailed studies carried out by Bord Bia on behalf of my Department. The countries selected for a detailed examination of their meat markets were Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Mexico and Malaysia;
- A market access web portal which was launched in May 2018 and is available on the Department’s website. It provides a wide range of valuable information on potential market opportunities to exporters
- An enhanced programme of Ministerial agri-food trade missions, in cooperation with Bord Bia and other State agencies.
Market access, both for beef and for live exports, has been a feature of these missions and over the last two and a half years, trade missions have focused on key growth markets such as:
- Asia: China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia;
- North America: USA, Mexico and Canada;
- The Gulf States and Turkey.
These missions feature high level political meetings as well as promotion opportunities for Irish beef and serve to enhance and improve our existing levels of market access in those destinations.
Since the Brexit vote in 2016, I have allocated significant additional funding to Bord Bia to enable it develop new markets and enhance existing ones. Bord Bia’s total grant in aid for 2019 is €46.6 million, representing a 60% increase in funding for the marketing and promotion of our food offering over five years.
The approach of my Department and Bord Bia for market development is a combination of targeted research, high-level diplomacy, consultation with important agri-food stakeholders and co-operation with officials in competent authorities abroad. This approach serves to make the most effective use of available resources and to maximise opportunities for market access.
Since April 2017, agreement has been secured for the export of beef to several new third country markets, including:
- Beef (frozen boneless, under 30 months) to China
- Beef (as well as pork) to Ukraine
- Beef (as well as sheepmeat and poultry) to Qatar and Kuwait
Furthermore, during this period, enhanced beef access was agreed with Japan, Israel, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
While the role of my Department is to secure market access for the industry, it is ultimately up to food business operators, with the support of my Department and Bord Bia, to exploit these opportunities.