The Oireachtas Agriculture Committee meets today to discuss the ongoing fodder crisis that has hit the industry. It coincides with Bord Bia's Marketplace International event which will see delegations visit farms and factories countrywide. The event is targeting €40m in new commercial wins.
Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said the vision of Ireland that the delegations will be getting on farms around the country will be different to the traditional image. "They'll be visiting farms where the animals, for welfare reasons as well as everything else, won't be outside. This is a unique event. This is not something that we're seeing as a new normal. We're looking at the grass fed nature of Ireland. It's one of our key competitive advantages. Clearly, contingency plans will put in place. This would have been seen as an exceptional year," the Bord Bia CEO said.
Bord Bia's Marketplace International event taking place this week pic.twitter.com/NK7MJVthAq— RTÉ Business (@RTEbusiness) April 11, 2018
Ms McCarthy explained that the Marketplace event was the culmination of a year's work and it has seen 500 delegations from 50 countries coming here to make potential business connections and see the farms and factories where Irish food is produced. "There are large customers and niche customers varying from a very strong UK representation to European representation, but also buyers from Australia, China, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. We're looking right across the supply chain from retailers to food service operators to convenience online. Everywhere you can buy food, we're targeting them so we can offer Irish food," she explained.
The Bord Bia CEO also said the British market was holding up quite well, despite the challenges of a stronger euro for exporting companies. "The UK is still our number one market. Exports were up 7% last year even though sterling hit 90 pence to the euro. "Food is a low margin business so competitiveness is core. We're conscious that it's not something we can take for granted," she concluded.
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