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Beef Focus
Beef Focus
the influence of China's import activity has on other
food categories. "The first shipment of beef to China
arrived in July 2018 and, to date, 1,000 tonnes have been
shipped. That's a modest start to what we hope will be a
very valuable market," said Sinead. Work will continue to
broaden the scope of that agreement, as well as exploring
opportunities for sheepmeat.
Other successes in 2018 included the opening of Kuwait
and Qatar to beef, sheepmeat and poultry exports,
following a discovery visit that took place in March 2018
in conjunction with Sustainable Food Systems Ireland
(SFSI). A veterinary health cert for the export of pigmeat
from Ireland to Malaysia was also agreed during the first-
ever agri-food trade mission to Malaysia and Indonesia,
which was led by Minister for Agriculture, Food and
the Marine, Michael Creed. Other ministerial-led trade
missions during the year included the US and Canada,
Turkey and China. Inward visits from Mexico and South
Korea were also hosted.
Meanwhile, Bord Bia is continuing to support exporters
globally by increasing its `feet on the streets' with new
recruits. "The headcount increased last year and by the
end of February we will have increased our headcount by
another 26 people. Many of those people will be going
into the market. We will be recruiting a further 10 people
before the year is out," said Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia.
South East Asia
Ciaran Gallagher is the director of one of Bord Bia's
newest o ces in Singapore. The o ce is responsible for
eight markets in South East Asia, including: Indonesia,
Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines,
Japan and South Korea. Speaking at the conference,
Ciaran highlighted the potential within these markets.
"Of these eight markets, seven were called out as
priorities for the Irish meat industry through the Bord Bia
market prioritisation research that was carried out in 2017.
Within those seven markets, not all are equal. Japan is a
major market. For years, the Irish pigmeat industry has
been selling there and it has really raised the profile of
what Ireland has to o er. It's the second largest pigmeat
importer in the world. Irish beef is also going into Japan
and, up to now, the story has been around Irish o als
mainly tongue, skirt and tail. These are delicacies in the
region and are well received. However, we are starting
to see opportunities also for value-add cuts. This is
coming from changing trends in how consumers eat
beef, and messages around sustainability and grass-fed
really resonate there. Also, with the EU-Japan Economic
Partnership Agreement coming into force, this will help to
level the playing field and open opportunities for Ireland's
beef suppliers. Now, I am starting to see Irish beef in
Japan's top hotels and restaurants. It's small but that's
starting to grow."
High-end opportunities
Earlier this year an event was also held in the Irish
embassy in Japan where two top chefs one from
Japan and one from Ireland teamed up for a cooking
demonstration using Irish beef. "Mr. Yasuhiro Fujio
wanted to do it after visiting Ireland and seeing Irish beef
production for himself. What Ireland has to o er is exactly
what Japan. is looking for. These are some of the most
discerning customers in the world. They want high-
quality, high-value, premium service and food." The Irish
meat industry will be further supported in accessing this
market as Japan is earmarked as the next destination for a
Bord Bia o ce, which is expected to open this year.
A gateway to Asia
Elsewhere in the region, Ciaran explained that Irish
duck exports have put Ireland on the map in Singapore,
which he described as a gateway to the rest of South
East Asia. "It's a showcase for products because it is such
an international country. Often, trends that take hold in
Singapore will radiate out elsewhere to its neighbours in
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and elsewhere. Irish duck
has been a phenomenal sensation over there. You are
seeing a lot of the Singapore foodservice industry, who
have become very familiar with Irish duck, are coming
back to us and saying: `We love your Irish duck, what else
does Ireland have to o er?' You see restaurants carrying
premium Irish beef, Irish oysters can be found in a lot of
high-end hotels and pork is really the one that has been
called out for its Irish origin in some of the restaurants in
One example of this success is the recently opened
Duck Land in Singapore. "One of the restaurants that has
been bringing in Irish duck has a new restaurant concept
called Duck Land. The premise is based around the duck,
but it also has Irish bacon and lamb going into Irish-
inspired dishes, such as: bacon, cabbage and colcannon
[a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes with kale
or cabbage] and Irish lamb stew. Singaporeans are fast
discovering Irish food who knows what might follow?"