Bord Bia leads study visit to New Zealand
The group, representing both processing and farming sectors, had an intensive itinerary spanning both the North and South Islands.
New Zealand is the global leader in sheepmeat exports, with annual shipments approaching 400,000 tonnes. In recent years, the Kiwi beef sector has overtaken Ireland as the fourth largest net exporter in the world, with more dairy-bred animals being reared there.
The participants received a unique insight into New Zealand’s red meat industry, by meeting with some of the country’s leading livestock producers and processing groups. The farming enterprises visited were entirely pasture-based, with no winter housing. Their focus on grassland utilisation was highly impressive, as well as on breeding functional, docile animals which perform well with low labour input.
The group was fortunate to tour several major meat plants, including Greenlea Premier Meats, Silver Fern Farms, Taylor Preston, Progressive Meats and Alliance Group. Productivity is a principal driver for these companies, with most operating two processing shifts per day during the peak season. The industry invests in innovative technology to maximise meat yield and overcome a scarcity of skilled labour. Exceptional shelf-life of up to 90 days is being achieved on vacuum-packed product. Cleanliness of their livestock and rigorous temperature control are both contributing factors.
Being so heavily export-dependent, New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) cites market access as a key priority.
They have been successful in developing the US, China and a wide range of Asian and Middle-Eastern markets for beef, lamb and offals.
The New Zealanders expressed a particular interest in Origin Green; Ireland’s national sustainability programme, which they see as reinforcing the existing strong recognition of Irish food as clean, green and high quality.
Bord Bia was recently supported by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Germany to promote Ireland’s new beef campaign. During his visit to Berlin, the Taoiseach and Bord Bia met with several key customers in the promotion of Irish beef, including the CEOs of major retailers and foodservice companies.
Bord Bia’s new five-year Irish beef campaign for Germany follows extensive consumer research in the market which clearly showed that shoppers want to hear about the origin of the meat they purchase and who is behind it. In 2016, Ireland exported 23,000 tonnes of beef to Germany, a doubling in volume since 2012. Bord Bia aims to increase this figure to 30,000 tonnes by 2018.
The Taoiseach highlighted the Irish food industry’s capacity to respond positively to German consumers. He said that Bord Bia’s new Irish beef campaign focuses on communicating our food industry’s world-leading sustainability credentials at every level.
“Since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the Government has intensified efforts in promoting Irish produce in key markets such as Germany, as well as working hard to support Irish exporters access new markets around the world. The quality and sustainability of Irish products, as emphasized in Bord Bia’s Origin Green sustainability programme, give us a great advantage when looking to expand our exports.”
During the visit, An Taoiseach launched Bord Bia’s Irish Beef Truck which will be used to carry the beef campaign message direct to German consumers at trade events.
Bord Bia has produced a new series of five short video clips to help explain how Irish farmers can be part of Origin Green and the benefits of farming sustainably – both to the environment and their farm.
One of the video clips specifically explores Origin Green Sustainable Dairy Farming and the Bord Bia Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme (SDAS); another looks at Origin Green Sustainable Beef Farming and the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef & Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS); and a third looks at examples and standards from the Origin Green producer awards.
The new footage also includes a visit to the dairy farm of brothers Joe and Michael Hayden at Killaveney, Tinahely, Co Wicklow; and to the beef farm of brothers Paddy and Tom Redmond at Craan, near Gorey, Co Wexford.
Irish farmers who are certified members of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance programme and who participate in the farm sustainability survey within their audit are part of Origin Green.
The featured Origin Green farmers share their experiences of participating in the survey, using the feedback to set targets and the results they have achieved on their farms.
The video clips can be viewed at: www.bordbia.ie/farmersorigingreen.
Bord Bia recently brought together senior executives from Tesco UK’s Fresh Food division with 19 Irish supplier companies at the Embassy of Ireland in London.
Bord Bia CEO Tara McCarthy said that deepening customer relationships was one of the pillars of its strategy to deal with the impact of Brexit on Irish food and drink suppliers.
“At the outset of Brexit we set out to copperfasten our relationships with UK customers to demonstrate our intention to maintain strong business links and work to ensure that Irish suppliers can consolidate their position in this valuable market. Today we had an invaluable opportunity for ourselves and Irish suppliers to engage with senior executives from the UK’s largest retailer and to better understand each-other’s commitments and challenges.”
Matt Simister, recently appointed CEO of Tesco Central Europe, and previously Fresh Food Commercial Director, briefed Bord Bia and the Irish suppliers on their trading strategy with insight into building successful business with Tesco. He outlined the importance of Irish agriculture to Tesco’s businesses in the Republic of Ireland, the UK and Central Europe and restated his desire to work in partnership with Irish suppliers as we head into a period of political uncertainty.
Congratulations to Shazia Waheed from Banduff, Co Cork, who was the winner for March in Bord Bia’s Origin Green photography competition. Shazia’s winning photo highlights that biodiversity and protection of natural habits are key parts of sustainable Irish farming.
This competition is being run in conjunction with Macra na Feirme, to help raise awareness of the natural beauty and sustainable practices on Irish farms. Each month throughout 2017, the winning entry will receive a €200 gift voucher. An overall winner will be selected at the end of the year for a €1,000 prize.
Competition entries can be made instantly on Twitter using the tag and hashtags: @MacraNaFeirme #OriginGreen #ItStartsHere Alternatively photos can be emailed to email@example.com, with subject line “Photo competition, Origin Green It Starts Here”.
Rules of the competition can be found on: www.macra.ie/origingreen.