Minister Promotes Irish Dairy & Meat In Algeria

IRELAND and ALGERIA - The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, travelled to Algiers to meet Mr Rachid Benaissa, the Algerian Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development and to promote sales of Irish dairy and meat products.
calendar icon 28 September 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Algeria has a population of 35 million and has significant potential as a market for Irish food products.

The Mission includes Irish Dairy Board senior management, Bord Bia and senior departmental officials.

Minister Coveney said that it was important to build contacts at Governmental and senior official level to facilitate further development of the trading relationship between Ireland and Algeria, and to raise the profile of Irish companies and their products in the region.

The two Ministers had a wide ranging and constructive discussion on the development of the agri food sectors in Ireland and Algeria and on building on the existing trading relationship between the two countries. They also discussed a number of specific issues relating to trade in dairy products and beef.

In relation to Irish beef, Minister Coveney pressed his counterpart to review the current requirement to test all animals over 30 months of age, in the light of an upward adjustment in the EU testing requirement to 72 months.

Algeria was a significant market for Irish beef during the 1990s, with exports of 20,000 tonnes per annum. Trade at present however, is somewhat constrained by an Algerian requirement to test all animals over 30 months of age for BSE.

Minister Coveney highlighted the high quality of Irish beef, and the extremely high standards of public health control which underpin production systems in Ireland.

Speaking after the meeting, he said: "My engagement yesterday with Minister Benaissa was extremely constructive. It is part of a continuing mission to raise the profile of Ireland and Irish food products in countries such as Algeria, which has an expanding population and an increasing demand for food. In so far as supporting our critically important agri food industry is concerned, I hope that yesterday's meeting can help to build the kind of confidence in the quality of our produce that can generate further business for Irish food companies, and in relation to beef, that this kind of confidence can form the basis of an early review of the testing age limit."

The Minister also met with Mr Abdel Malek Boudiaf, the Regional Governor of Oran which is a key centre for administration and development in Algeria. Algeria is already an important market for Irish dairy products and has significant growth potential. It is a significant net importer of milk and milk products, and dairy consumption at present is approximately 3.5 billion kg per annum, and growing at a rate of 8% per annum. In 2010, exports of Irish dairy products to Algeria were valued at almost €38 million.

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