The Rugby World Cup hosted by Japan this year represents a huge opportunity for Irish agricultural exports, according to the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
“Awareness of Ireland will be at a peak” when Ireland play against Japan in the group stages, Minister Creed said.
This will allow us the “opportunity to highlight all Ireland has to offer from a food, tourism and trade perspective” the minister added.
Speaking ahead of the trade mission he is leading to Japan and South Korea this week, he also stated that market access for Irish sheepmeat would be a main focus.
The Department of Agriculture prioritises Japan and South Korea as markets with significant growth opportunities for Irish food and drink exports.
Last year, Ireland exported €115m worth of agri-food exports to Japan.
This figure has the potential to increase considerably over the coming years.
This is due in part to the introduction of the Japan European Economic Partnership Trade Agreement (JEEPA), which will reduce tariffs on agricultural products over the coming years.
Exports of Irish beef to Japan should also be spurred on by the removal of the ban on the export of beef from animals over 30 months of age.
Last year, beef exports to Japan were sitting at 842t, consisting of mainly frozen offal, particularly tongues. These estimated value of these exports was €3.6m.
Pigmeat exports to Japan were worth €41m to the Irish economy last year, with dairy products just behind at €40m.
Watch: Bord Bia trade mission to Japan and South Korea kicks off in Tokyo
Sheepmeat access on the agenda for Japanese trade mission
Irish steak selling for €200/kg in Japan