By Hamed Mahmoud
Ireland’s leading dairy ingredient suppliers are set to strengthen business ties with key Egyptian retailers and food manufacturers through a dairy forum hosted by the Irish Food Board.
Bord Bia (The Irish Food Board) is the Irish government agency charged with the promotion, trade development and marketing of the Irish food, drink and horticulture industry. Headquartered in Dublin, Bord Bia has a network of 15 overseas offices, including Africa. Following on from a successful Irish government-led trade mission to Algeria in 2020, Bord Bia is hoping to use the virtual Egypt Ireland Dairy Ingredients Forum to connect Irish dairy suppliers with new and existing Egyptian business partners.
In response to a demand for dairy products, Egypt has witnessed a 47% growth in total dairy imports over the past 10 years, of which Ireland has been a key supplier. The total value of Irish dairy exports to Africa for 2020 was €658m, meanwhile, Irish dairy exports to Egypt were worth €52 million during the same year; one that witnessed a 3% uplift in the value of international dairy exports from Ireland to €5.2bn.
Speaking about the Dairy Ingredients Forum, which is set to be a matchmaking event and a quick and easy way to meet potential cooperation partners, Bord Bia’s Regional Director for Africa, Nicolas Ranninger, said this current wave of trade activity will aim to build on Ireland’s reputation as a safe, trustworthy and sustainable supplier of dairy to Egypt. “The Irish Dairy industry continues to innovate, investing in almost US$3bn in the last 5-10 years on world class production facilities with an emphasis centered on quality, safety and production of superior dairy products to meet customer applications and consumer needs,” he said. As far as market status is concerned, Ranninger went on to add that “Egypt has witnessed a 47% growth in total dairy imports over the past 10 years and has one of the highest dairy consumptions in Africa, at 98 litres per capita.” The specific demand for Irish dairy in Egypt has doubled in value over the last five years, driven by demand for cheese which accounts for two thirds of this trade. According to the annual Performance and Prospects report for the Irish food and drink industry for 2020, Ireland stands as the largest supplier of cheddar cheese to Egypt with cheese accounting for half of total exports
“Food is Ireland’s number one indigenous industry and we are extremely proud that our food and drink industry is a solutions-driven industry,” Ranninger clarified, “Our natural grass-based farming methods, our competitive and innovative dairy processing industry, together with our rigorous system of food safety controls, have allowed Ireland to develop a strong, internationally-recognised dairy sector. Despite the Covid-19 crisis with production and logistics challenges, our industry has been resilient and committed to supply the Egyptian market with our best quality products through 2020 and will remain a privileged partner for the Egyptian industry”.