Minister McConalogue leads Agri-Food Trade Mission to West Africa
Focus on enhancing political and economic relationships
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., is this week leading an agri and economic trade mission to West Africa. The visit to Nigeria and Senegal is focused on developing political and economic relationships in the region and the Minister is joined on the visit by, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, Sustainable Foods Systems Ireland and the Irish Embassies in both host countries. 15 Irish companies are also participating on the visit this week.
Speaking ahead of the Trade Mission, Minister McConalogue stated:
"I am delighted to be leading this trade mission to West Africa. There are deep and historic ties between Ireland and this region, a relationship which has been evolving and deepening over recent years with the growing vibrant West African community in Ireland. Ireland has a strong economic relationship with West Africa and I look forward to exploring the opportunities to enhance this relationship where demand for affordable high quality food and drinks is growing. Ireland’s high quality, safe sustainably produced food, seafood and beverages are well placed to meet this demand and grow the sector’s footprint in this region. The trade mission will include engagement between senior official Government counterparts as well as key trade contacts for Irish businesses operating in the region. I am particularly looking forward to the attending the launch of an Ireland-Nigeria Trade network in Lagos this week and supporting Irish companies creating new economic ties in the region.
This trade mission will include events in both Abuja and Lagos Nigeria and Dakar, Senegal including Government to Government meetings, engagement with UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and UN World Food Programme and Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland engagements with leading customers for Irish agri-food and agri-tech.
Minister noted that:
“This week is also about enhancing our cooperation on global challenges associated with food security, climate and environmental adaption and presents opportunities for important exchanges and collaboration with stakeholders in this region. While the scale, economies and agro-ecologies of Ireland and countries in the region are different, I believe we share the common aim of improving the contribution of the agri food sector to our national economies and building sustainable food systems. The engagement with Government, UN Agency and private sector stakeholders during this Trade Mission allows us to share Ireland’s experience of developing a sustainable agriculture sector, to underline Ireland’s commitment to supporting the development of sustainable food systems globally and to identify further opportunities for collaboration on these issues with stakeholders in this region.”
Bord Bia CEO, Jim O’Toole said:
“Ireland is building a strong trading relationship with Africa which has seen the value of Irish food and drink exports reach €1.1 billion in 2022, comprising dairy, drinks, meat and seafood exports. Since 2018, Irish food and drink exports to West Africa have increased from €227 million to €578 million in 2022.
Given that Nigeria and Senegal have a combined population of 229 million people, trade missions such as this provide a means to raise the profile of Irish food and drink and to provide opportunities for West African countries to increase their business with Ireland.”
Minister McConalogue concluded:
"This trade mission is a Team Ireland undertaking with strong support from Embassies of Ireland to Nigeria and Senegal, my own Department, Sustainable Food Systems Ireland, Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland. I am very much looking forward to engaging with Irish food and drink companies and their key trade customers and deepening Ireland’s partnerships in the region."
Note for Editors:
Irish agri-food exports
Nigeria is largest market for Irish agri-food goods in Africa with exports worth €208 million in 2022 increasing by 14% over 2021 with Dairy, Seafood and Beverage products the main export categories.
Irish agri-food exports to Senegal in 2022 totalled €95 million in 2022.
World Food Programme
The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organisation saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine leads for the Irish Government with the World Food Programme. Ireland’s WFP commitment 2022-2024 is to increase core funding to €75m over this three period. This includes a €5 million per year allocation to WFP’s trust fund for hunger-related climate change; and an €8 million annual allocation to the WFP Syrian emergency response. The balance of the funding is fully flexible and un-earmarked, which allows the WFP to surge a rapid and effective response where it is needed most, in large scale emergencies.
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Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
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gov.ie - Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (www.gov.ie)