Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will lead the first leg of an agri-food trade mission to Asia, covering Japan and Singapore, this week.

Minister of State Martin Heydon, who has special responsibility for new market development, will lead the second leg of the trade mission, to Vietnam, next week.

Japan and the southeast Asia region are priority high-value growth markets for Irish food and drink exports.

The Minister said the trade mission represents a “critical opportunity to further promote Ireland’s high-quality, safe and sustainably produced food and drink products in Japan, Singapore and the wider southeast Asian premium markets”.

Promote exports

Ireland has access for beef and sheepmeat exports to Japan and the trade mission, he said, is an opportunity to further promote these exports in Japan.

“This is our third trade mission to the region since 2017 and I am excited to build on the great work that has been done before.

"My key focus is on opening and developing new markets that will grow our world-class food sector in order to deliver stronger returns to the farm families of Ireland who are the bedrock of our industry,” he said.

Bord Bia’s launch of its three-year regional strategy will be the focus of its part of the trade mission to Japan and southeast Asia.

Its new regional strategy outlines a target of €800m in Irish food and drink exports to southeast Asia by 2025, led by the dairy and meat sectors.


Total agri-food exports to Japan in 2021 reached almost €180m, a 20% increase when compared with 2020 and a 350% increase over the last decade, according to Central Statistics Office (CSO) trade statistics.

Last year, dairy exports to Japan, mainly cheddar cheese, amounted to €66m, with pigmeat exports at €50m and beef exports were valued at over €28m.


Singapore is a critical regional hub in southeast Asian supply chains, according to the Department.

In Singapore, Minister McConalogue and Bord Bia interim CEO Michael Murphy will attend the Food and Hotel Asia (FHA) trade show where 10 Irish companies are participating.

It is the largest trade event of its kind in the region, attracting over 80,000 visitors.

FHA will feature a Bord Bia pavilion aimed at building reputation among trade media of the Irish food and drink industry.

Michael Murphy said that Irish food and drink exports to southeast Asia last year were valued at €535m, a 25% increase on 2020.

“These figures demonstrate that even against the backdrop of the challenges posed by the pandemic alongside other macro factors such as logistical issues and higher dairy prices, customers in this region are still committed to sourcing sustainable, quality produce they trust,” he said.