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More Irish food to be expected in China

THE Irish Food Board estimates its food and drink exports to China would add about 50 to 60 percent in the next three to five years and reach 1 billion euros (US$1.13 billion) with booming demand from China.

Aidan Cotter, chief executive of Irish Food Board, told an interview with Shanghai Daily today that he expects Irish exports to China to exceed 700 million euros this year and the growth momentum would continue to reach 1 billion euro in three to five years.

The Irish Food Board, the state agency aiming at promoting Irish food and horticulture in both overseas and domestic market, is also eyeing 50 percent growth for dairy exports in the next four years thanks to the booming demand for infant formula, which would enable Ireland to become a leading dairy supplier for China.

"We're seeing the growth pace to continue in terms of overall export and Irish export to China has been growing from dairy, pork, seafood and now expanding to beef," Cotter said.

Dairy products remain the biggest contributor, adding 26 percent annually to 454 million euro in 2015.

Last year, total Irish food and drink export volume to China surged 16 percent from a year ago to 612 million euros against an overall growth rate of 3 percent to 10.8 billion euros.

China is also the second largest market for Irish export of dairy products and pork, with other segments such as seafood also picking up steadily.

Over the past few years, it has also forged partnership with online retailers such as Alibaba Group's business-to-consumer site Tmall to raise awareness about Irish food and drink products.

The Irish Food Board also launched the Origin Green program in China to promote sustainable food to Chinese companies and consumers, along with a Chinese version of the Origin Green website. Currently, about 90,000 Irish farms and more than 500 companies have joined Origin Green.


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