Bord Bia is using the government-led trade mission to Algeria and Egypt this week to leverage further opportunities for Irish companies to meet the rising import demand for dairy and livestock produce in the region.
A fifth of Africa’s 1.2 billion people reside in North Africa and consume 40% of all dairy imported into the continent. Algeria and Egypt are not self-sufficient in dairy production and with a total population of 138 million people, both countries have a combined import requirement of 730,000 tonnes of dairy. The projected rise in population plus the consumer demand for dairy products coupled with a deficit in domestic dairy production now make both Egypt and Algeria strategically important markets for Irish dairy exports.
Speaking in Algiers on the first day of the trade mission, Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said: "Bord Bia is increasing its focus on Algeria and Egypt, markets which offer growth opportunities at a time when our food and drink industry is energised in unlocking potential in diverse locations. By 2030, both countries are estimated to have a combined population of some 164 million people and a requirement for close to 800,000 tonnes of dairy ingredient products, indicating a significant opportunity for Irish dairy companies, particularly milk and protein powder manufacturers and suppliers, to further their commercial success.”
The livestock sector is also of key importance on this week’s trade mission. The Algerian market represents a key opportunity for Irish livestock exports, with imports of live cattle growing strongly in 2019 to approximately 100,000 head, of which 75% are young bulls. New live export protocols negotiated between the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the Algerian veterinary authorities in 2019 effectively opened the live export market to Algeria by improving the conditions attached to market access. The stringent system of animal health and welfare controls operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine ensures that Irish cattle arrive to their final destination in excellent condition.
“What we are doing on this trade mission is laying the foundations of Ireland as a trusted partner to North Africa, one that can complement local industry and is poised to deliver upon their increasing import needs,” said Tara McCarthy.“Bord Bia’s strategy for North Africa focuses on lead generation and business conversion, building the reputation of Irish food and drink exports and identifying value-added opportunities for exporters. In order to future proof our agriculture industry and to gain market share for our Irish producers and processors we are investing in additional resources in Algeria and Egypt, with a dedicated team working with importers in the region.”
Bord Bia’s Africa office falls under the remit of Nicolas Ranninger who is working to execute a market plan for developing Irish livestock exports in North Africa. This plan includes dedicated engagement with buyers to raise awareness of Ireland’s supply potential while also promoting the quality of meat and dairy produced from Irish cattle via information events for importers in market.
To support this week’s trade mission, Bord Bia is hosting technical seminars and business-to-business meetings between Irish exporters and potential customers in both markets. Bord Bia’s Algeria Ireland Dairy Ingredients Forum in both Algiers and Cairo will be aimed at building
awareness of Ireland as a supplier of high-quality, sustainably produced dairy with key trade importers and buyers. The business-to-business introductory meetings are the key focus of this trade mission, positioning Irish dairy exporters as suitable partners to Algerian importers and will build on the preparatory initiatives designed to deepen insights into the trading environment, business culture and where potential for increased business may lie.
“Limited market knowledge and under-developed business relationships are the biggest challenges faced when pursuing opportunities in international markets,” said Nicolas Ranninger. “To address these challenges Bord Bia’s North African market team has provided in-depth market analysis and insights to each travelling Irish company to enable these exporters to develop a network of distributors and importers in region. We are also investing in direct business conversion by setting up 150 meetings introducing targeted high potential buyers to the travelling Irish companies. These meetings will help unlock business opportunities in the region, both during and post-trade mission. We believe this is how we are going to strengthen Ireland’s reputation as a trusted supplier in both the Algerian and Egyptian livestock and dairy markets.”
Continued in-market engagement is a priority for Bord Bia, paving the way for an alternative outlet for cattle that complements the Irish beef industry. Following on from this trade mission Bord Bia will publish an exporters guide for Irish companies with the required information to navigate the unique characteristics of the respective markets in North Africa.