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Creed Kicks Off Major Trade Mission to Morocco and Algeria

Region a key target for Irish agri-food exports

Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. will lead some 10 Irish agri-food companies on a five-day trade mission to North Africa, commencing today, Wednesday 2 November. Minister Creed will lead the Mission in Morocco for three days and the trade delegation, led by his department, will continue to Algeria.

Commenting in advance of his departure, Minister Creed said: “North Africa offers enormous potential for the Irish food and drink industry.  Diversification of markets is a key goal of Food Wise 2025 and Africa represents a major potential growth area. This is even more important now as we face the uncertainty which the Brexit decision brings for exporters. As Minister I am determined to be proactive in the face of the threat posed to our agri-food sector by Brexit. Securing new markets and consolidating and expanding existing markets for our exports is a key part of this strategy. I am pleased to be accompanied by some 10 Irish companies on the mission, along with senior officials from my Department and from State Agencies in the agri-food and fisheries sector, including Bord Bia and Sustainable Food Systems Ireland.”

The Minister’s mission commences Wednesday in Morocco where he will be based until Saturday for a series of trade promotion events and political meetings with Moroccan counterparts. Commenting on the Moroccan leg of the visit the Minister said: “Agri-food exports from Ireland to Morocco last year continued their steady growth and have now almost doubled from around €8 million in 2013 to almost €14.5 million in 2015. 2016 is also looking to be a very positive year so far with almost €13 million in agri-food products exported by the end of July which is almost the entire amount for 2015. We can do better, however, and I want to raise the profile of Ireland as a producer of top class food and livestock in this region, at both political and commercial level. I look forward to meeting my counterpart Minister Aziz Akhannouch in Rabat, and to meeting key contacts in a number of influential state agencies. 

I am accompanied by Irish exporters in the dairy, meat and livestock sectors. In this regard
I want to develop a platform for strong and growing strategic partnerships between Moroccan and Irish food companies and to provide a political platform for enhanced commercial engagement between Irish companies and potential business partners in this region.”

Speaking in advance of the trade mission Aidan Cotter CEO of Bord Bia said "Trade missions are a key element of our agri-food strategy as we seek to expand and diversify the number of available markets for Irish food and drink exports. Over the next five days, this mission will provide an invaluable opportunity to Irish dairy, livestock and meat exporters to meet and engage with Moroccan and Algerian food buyers and importers."

On Friday, senior officials from the Minister’s department will proceed to Algeria, accompanied by Aidan Cotter of Bord Bia and the rest of the business delegation. The main event will be an Ireland-Algeria agri-food seminar in Algiers on Monday 7th November. The event will include speakers from both the Irish and Algerian agri-food sectors. The value of our exports of agri-food products to Algeria was over €41m in 2015, up from less than €30M a few years earlier. These figures are driven by strong growth in our dairy exports, particularly powders, butter, cheese and caseins. Dairy exports to Algeria in 2015 were over €40M.

Commenting Minister Creed said: “I am delighted that Ireland is co-hosting this high-level event which is aimed at expanding Ireland’s footprint in this key target market for Irish agri-food exports. This event will really help us to sell the image of Ireland as a premium producer of sustainable food and will also be a key networking opportunity for Irish companies with Algerian buyers. Dairy is very much the dominant sector for Irish exports to Algeria currently but I am determined to expand this into other sectors also.

In a major development for the Irish sheep sector, the Minister also signalled his intention to commence the process for securing market access for Irish sheepmeat into Morocco and Algeria during the visit. Sheepmeat exports from Ireland in 2015 were worth more than €230 million (46,000 tonnes) and Ireland exported sheepmeat to over 40 countries last year. Commenting on this, the Minister said “Securing new market access is always a priority for our meat sectors. While we have market access for beef to both countries, we would very much like to add Morocco and Algeria to that list of Countries accepting sheepmeat. Our lamb is world famous and sold in over 40 countries now and I will be raising the issue of sheepmeat access in meetings in political meetings in both Countries”.

Concluding, Minister Creed said that the growing demand for food products in North Africa represents a major opportunity for Irish agri-food sector.” Irish companies have already made some inroads into these markets but the potential is there for significant expansion.  We are targeting two key markets this week and  I am confident that this mission will enhance Ireland’s reputation and make a significant contribution to developing the footprint of Irish companies in that part of the world.

Events such as this mission form part of the Government’s strategic response to the threat posed to our agri-food sector by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.”

Itinerary for Trade Mission

Wednesday 2nd November

PM          Departure from Dublin Airport for Rabat
PM          Arrival at Rabat Airport
PM          Briefing of Minister by Official Delegation 

Thursday 3th November – Rabat/Casablanca

AM          Business Networking Breakfast
AM          Briefing by Ambassador
AM          Meeting with National Office for Health Security of Food Products (ONSSA)
AM          Meeting with Agency for Agricultural Development of Morocco (ADA)
AM          Bilateral with Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries                                                       
PM          Depart for Casablanca
PM          Company Site Visit
PM          Business Networking Reception
PM          Debrief for Ministerial Delegation

Friday 4th November - Agadir                                              

AM          Depart for Agadir
AM          Arrive Agadir
PM          Dairy Company Site Visit
PM          Meeting with Regional Representatives
PM          Depart from Agadir Airport for Casablanca Airport
PM          Arrival in Casablanca Airport

Saturday 5th November

AM          DAFM Officials Depart for Algiers
PM         Arrive Algiers
PM          Dairy Company Site Visit
PM          Briefing for Trade Delegation

Sunday 6th November

AM          Business Networking Breakfast
AM          Company Meetings
AM          Bilateral meetings with Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development
PM`        Meeting with ONIL (Office National Interprofessionnel du lait et Produits Laitiers)
PM          Company Site Visit

 Monday 7th November

AM          Business Networking Breakfast   
AM          Meeting with local dairy companies
AM          Dairy Seminar: Food Ireland: Safe, Secure & Sustainable     
PM          Meeting with local dairy companies
PM          Depart for Dublin
PM          Arrive in Dublin                              


Note for editors: 

  • Agri-food exports from Ireland to Morocco last year continued their steady growth. They have now almost doubled from around €8 million in 2013 to almost €14.5 million in 2015.
  • In 2015 almost €13 million or 3,650 tonnes of dairy produce was exported. 2016 is also looking to be a very positive year so far. By the end of July, a greater volume of diary produce (4,300 tonnes) had been exported than in the whole of 2015.
  • Almost €13 million in agri-food products had been exported by the end of July in Morocco, which is close to the entire amount for 2015. This reflects the strong and growing strategic partnerships being built between Moroccan and Irish food companies.
  • Ireland’s agri-food exports to Algeria were worth over €41m in 2015, up from less than €30M three years previously.
  • These figures are driven by strong growth in our dairy exports, particularly powders, butter, cheese and caseins. Dairy exports to Algeria in 2015 were over €40M.
  • Our statistics for the year to date in 2016 show that these upward trends continue with exports increasing by approximately 14% in the dairy area for the period to the middle of the year.

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 149/2016 (pdf 413Kb) 


Date Released: 02 November 2016