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19 February, 2009: Minister Sargent Opens Ireland's Organic Food Stand At Biofach 2009

Mr. Trevor Sargent T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food today opened Ireland's organic food stand at BioFach, the world's largest and most prestigious organic food fair in Nuremberg, Germany. Speaking at the opening Minister Sargent said that participation of so many Irish companies at the event was ¿a truly exciting development¿. ¿There are undoubtedly opportunities for indigenous Irish companies to make inroads into these export markets, and the Irish participation at Biofach is an important step in that direction¿, he added.

Eleven innovative Irish seafood and food companies will be participating at the event, which takes place from 19th - 22nd February. Last year, BioFach attracted close to 3,000 international exhibitors and some 46,500 trade visitors from 124 countries.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) and Bord Bia have jointly coordinated the participation of the Irish companies at BioFach 2009. Minister Sargent also welcomed representatives from 14 non-exhibiting Irish food companies who will visit BioFach as part of a German market study. He said that he ¿was really looking forward to the opportunity of spreading the word about the quality of Irish organic produce that is on display here at the Irish stand¿. He also hoped that the event would inspire these Irish companies ¿to consider the development of new organic products¿.

Speaking at the launch of the 'Ireland stand' Bord Bia Chief Executive Aidan Cotter commented ¿Although the UK will continue to be Ireland's single largest export market, Bord Bia continually works with industry to broaden Ireland's export reach. We are aware of the difficulties currently facing exporters and in the light of the recent exchange rate, volatility Eurozone markets, such as Germany, offer the prospect of new opportunities and more stability. As the organic sector continues to perform strongly in Germany, driven by the adoption of Bio (organic) by the discounters, Ireland's strong presence and participation at BioFach and other such events has become increasingly important.¿

According to Donal Buckley, BIM's Market Development Manager, Irish organic seafood, and specifically organic salmon, is well placed to ride out the current volatility in the marketplace.¿Ireland was responsible for pioneering organic salmon and as a result 70-80% of salmon production in Ireland is organic and the quality of the product is now highly sought after in Europe due to its superior quality. In the current economic climate and with ever-increasing price competitiveness in the global salmon market, the Irish organic offering is a profitable and economically viable niche for quality-focused Irish producers¿ he said.

Date Released: 19 February 2009