Ireland's food and horticulture promotional body has announced plans to open an office in Dubai to support the industry’s efforts to double exports to the Middle East by 2020.
While Bord Bia has worked with local resources for a number of years, and more recently placed three of its 'marketing fellows' in the region, the Dubai move is a significant step for the body as it bids to intensify marketing and promotional activity to support continued growth.
The announcement was made on the second day of Bord Bia's ongoing trade mission to the Middle East, which is being led by the Irish minister of agriculture and food, Simon Coveney TD.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Bord Bia chief executive Aidan Cotter, said: "Over the past three years, our resources and extensive market research in the Middle East has pointed to significant growth and new business opportunities for Irish food and drink exporters.
"This new office will provide a practical solution for Irish companies seeking to enter the market by providing access to market knowledge, insight and research.”
In 2012, Irish food and drink exports to the Middle East were valued at €275 million, with the Gulf states of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain accounting for 70 per cent of that figure, or €192 million.
Bord Bia estimates Irish food and drink exports to the Middle East could double to exceed €500 million this decade.
The new office, which is likely to be located alongside other Irish development agencies based in the market, will focus on Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the Gulf States in addition to monitoring potential opportunities in Iran, Iraq and Jordan.