Ireland begins 30-strong agri-food trade mission to Vietnam

Exports from Ireland last year were worth almost €36m

Ireland begins 30-strong agri-food trade mission to Vietnam

Image: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, is holding events on the first day of a trade mission to Vietnam.

A delegation of 30 Irish food exporters are attending meetings in Hanoi.

Ireland's food exports to the Asian nation have grown six-fold in six years and last year were worth almost €36m.

While dairy products were the most valuable, pigmeat beverages, seafood also contributed strongly.

In 2014, Bord Bia carried out a pigmeat market study and identified potential - which the Department of Agriculture says "is being exploited" - with increased exports of 400% between 2014 and 2015.

Vietnam is the sixth largest pork producer in the world. Pork accounts for 65% of national meat consumption or around four million tonnes.

Speaking from Hanoi, Minister Doyle said: "This is the first ever ministerial-led Irish food and drink trade mission to Vietnam and my objective is to raise the profile of Ireland as a source for safe, secure and sustainably produced food.

"While there is existing trade in Irish dairy, pigmeat and seafood here we know that there potential is there for this to significantly grow.

Minister of State Andrew Doyle (left) attends meetings in Vietnam | Image: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

"With a young open and well educated population of 90 million and a growing middle class, this is a market with enormous potential for our exporters".

The visit began with a series of engagements with Mr Doyle's Vietnamese counterparts - notably bilateral meetings with the Vietnamese agriculture minister and the vice-minister for planning and investment.

The minister later hosted a major conference in Hanoi called "Introducing the Irish food Industry".

This conference targeted key Vietnamese government officials, food buyers, retailers, media and Irish exporters.

Commenting on this event, Minister Doyle said: "This high-level conference was intended as an opportunity in raising the profile of Ireland as sustainable premium producer of food and it very much succeeded in doing so.

"It is gaining huge coverage by Vietnamese media with four local television channels and other media covering the events thus helping to disseminate our messages to our intended audience."

The population of Vietnam is set to rise to 100 million people by 2024 - this is equivalent to around one-fifth of the current EU-28 population.