Iran is the second largest economy in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia.

The lifting of international sanctions in the country poses significant opportunities for Irish dairy exports.

Iran has an estimated nominal GDP of $397bn and is also the second largest country in the Middle East after Egypt.

Demand set to grow

Despite international sanction beings imposed for many years and having to become self-reliant, Iran imported approximately $300m worth of dairy products in 2014.

Over 37,000t of butter were imported to Iran last year and demand is expected to grow over the next four years to 60,000t.

Ireland was a relatively small supplier, accounting for 2.8% in 2015, whereas New Zealand, the highest supplier, exported 59.8% to Iran last year.

Representatives from Bord Bia, the Department of Agriculture and 17 Irish food companies are currently in Iran to explore trading opportunities there.

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Irish delegation travels to Iran on agri-food trade mission