The Asian Market! What Ireland has to Offer

The Asian Market – What Ireland has to offer

The Asian Market is the single largest economic driver in the world, having the fastest growing population worldwide serving home to 6/10 people in the world. This rapid expansion in population of 44 million people per year over the past 10 years has resulted in more citizens being classified as middle class, changing dietary patterns and higher demands for foods rich in protein, vegetables, meat and dairy as well as the quality of food. The global demand for diary is set to increase by 2% every year and accounts for 70% of all imports into the Chinese market, with bulk powders such as infant formula playing a pivotal role in the export industry particularly for Ireland who are the largest exporters of infant formula in the world, making a profit of $16 per tin of formula in China.

€650 million worth of food and beverages are currently exported to China on a yearly basis but as extra demand in other foods such as seafood is set to be 17 million tonnes per annum there is still a massive opportunity for Ireland to increase its exports, as we produce 10 times more food than required for our population. Diversification into other immerging markets such as Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam are also potential strategies as it is predicted that 80% of future demands for meat will come from Asia, Africa and South America, with the average person nowadays consuming 43.1kg of meat per annum. Indonesia is currently the 4th largest buyer in the world but is set to by-pass current leaders such as Japan in the next 10 years.

This is a huge opportunity for Ireland, particularly as our dairy production is set to increase by 50% in the next 5 years alone due to the uplift on the milk production quota, leaving us with an additional 2.75 billion litres of milk. 85% of all food produced here is available for exportation to 128 countries resulting in exports to grow to €5.5 billion by 2020, creating 15,000 jobs both on and off farms. 18,000 farms in Ireland account for our milk production and 45,000 account for beef farms, with 20,000 farms audited per year giving us a competitive advantage as regards food safety. Ireland is also the only country in the world to conduct carbon assessments on an annual basis – with 90,000 farms having been assessed to date in accordance to the ISO standard.

Other advantages Ireland has to offer include water availability, supply chain traceability systems, weather and grass feed systems. Our reputation is everything as is emphasised by the “Origin Green” programme and we have the proof to back it up as Ireland along with Canada are ranked as number 1 in the world with regards food safety, additionally we were the first country in the EU that was able to trace back all of our meat during the horse meat scandal. We can also offer competitive advantages primarily on price, quality and sustainability which we are world leaders in. Lastly, we are one of the strongest in the world regarding research in dairy genetics and continued development in scientific practices to maximise our efficiency.

Having said that, global challenges pose a threat to all economies as we need to increase our food production worldwide to 60% by 2050 to sustain the continuously growing population that are living longer and requiring higher demands in food quality and safety. Ireland are fortunate that we have organisations such as Teagasc and Bord Bia that aid us in maintaining our integrity of our food chain and providing crucial funding for research, along with “Origin Green” which puts us right up there as a serious competitor in the battle of feeding our world with safe and high quality produce.
The above facts and figures were obtained from various guest speakers at the Asia Ireland Forum.

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