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UAE Ministry Of Climate Change And Environment Signs Memorandum Of Understanding With Department Of Agriculture, Food And The Marine Of Ireland On Food Security

By Dave Simpson

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Ireland's Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of Ireland to enhance cooperation in the food security field.

According to a statement published on gov.ie, the agreement was signed by Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD, who is currently leading an Irish agri-food trade mission to the Gulf Region.

The statement published on gov.ie said that under the terms of the MoU, the two parties will collaborate in leveraging the latest technologies to optimise food and water management, promoting foreign direct investments in sustainable agriculture, facilitating trade in food and agricultural products, and sharing knowledge of national governance frameworks that seek to address the water, food, and energy nexus.

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The statement published on gov.ie included a statement from Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, in which she said, "Strengthening national food security is a strategic priority for the UAE. Therefore, the Ministry is keen to step up collaboration with relevant entities in other countries to boost food trade, ensure the continuity of supply chains, and drive the adoption of innovative solutions in this field. The agreement with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine of Ireland will spur the exchange of successful innovation- and technology-based experiences in all aspects of food security and sustainability."

The statement published on gov.ie also included a statement from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine for Ireland Charlie McConalogue, in which he said, "I believe Ireland can continue to be a strong partner for the UAE in respect of technical cooperation on food security objectives; as well as other areas of mutual interest; including trade opportunities, market access issues, and research and innovation. This is a relationship that can grow further to become even stronger in the years ahead.

"I was glad to be able to share the story behind Ireland’s new stakeholder-led strategy: Food Vision 2030 - A World Leader in Sustainable Food Systems with Minister Almheiri. I acknowledge Minister Almheri’s leadership in respect of the AIM for Climate (Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate) global research initiative, in which Ireland is pleased to participate."

Bord Bia Partners With UAE Retailer To Spotlight Sustainable Irish Suppliers

Meanwhile, Bord Bia has announced that has partnered with UAE premium retailer Spinneys for a sustainability themed promotion to highlight Irish brands and their participation in Ireland's national food and drink sustainability programme, Origin Green.

Bord Bia said that the three-week promotion was formally launched on day two of the Irish government’s trade mission to the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Bord Bia global business development director Ailish Forde said at the launch of the “Sustainable Ireland” promotion, "Bord Bia's market insights show us that there is a growing interest in the UAE for healthy and organic foods to boost immunity along with safely packaged food - a direct response to food security concerns from consumers who are now more inclined to purchase from a well-known brand where the origin can be traced. The growing demand here for sustainable sources of ingredients from Europe presents excellent opportunities for Ireland and to showcase Origin Green internationally."

Forde added, "For individual Irish companies to succeed in the market, we know it is critical that awareness of Ireland as a source of quality, sustainable ingredients is amplified. Spinneys is a valued customer of Irish food and drink with a reputation as a leader in adopting sustainable practices. This consumer-facing promotion, highlighting the sustainability of Irish produce, is a key measure in growing this awareness. Throughout this week, Irish food and drink exporters will have the opportunity to further build awareness of their sustainability credentials by leveraging the proof-points of Origin Green when engaging with decision makers and business leaders during their participation in prominent events including Gulfood and EXPO 2020."

Spinney brand and sustainability manager Sophie Corcut said, "Spinneys promotes healthier eating, less waste and sustainable production practices, all of which are aligned with what Ireland is doing in its approach to agri-food production, making Ireland a natural partner for us. Our customers are also placing more value on sustainably-produced and traceable produce, which Ireland is a leader at providing from farm to fork through Origin Green."

Bord Bia's new regional director, Middle East, Kieran Fitzgerald, said, "We know that innovative and mutually beneficial partnerships are necessary to deliver on the region’s strong economic ambitions. Bord Bia has built strong relationships with key customers in the region and this partnership with Spinneys illustrates how Irish exporters are well positioned to deliver on the needs of retailers and foodservice suppliers in the region. Bord Bia is committed to fostering deeper relationships with Spinneys and other partners in the region. Last month, Ciaran Stafford joined Spinneys on an 18-month placement as part of the Bord Bia Talent Academy under the Supply Chain and Account Management programme. Previously, Origin Green Ambassador, Stephen Tummon, completed a six-month secondment with Spinneys, working across key sustainability projects."

The promotion will run across 10 Spinneys and five Waitrose stores in the UAE until 6 March.

Minister McConalogue Concludes First Leg Of Trade Mission

The above news was followed by news that Minister McConalogue has concluded the first leg of the Irish Agrifood trade mission to the Gulf region, with a series of government and business engagements, according to another statement published on gov.ie.

According to the statement published on gov.ie, in addition to signing a MoU on co-operation in the field of food security, Minister McConalogue opened a Bord Bia celebration of Irish food at the Irish pavilion at Dubai’s EXPO's 2020.

The statement published on gov.ie included a statement from Minister McConalogue, in which he said, "Government to government engagements are a key part of any trade mission, and I was delighted to meet with my UAE counterpart for a positive exchange of views on issues of common interest. I also raised market access issues, expressing the hopes that it will be possible for the UAE to confirm that poultry meat and eggs can again be exported from counties Cavan and Monaghan, now that Ireland is thankfully free of Highly Pathogenetic Avian Influenza (HPAI)."

Speaking about the Bord Bia celebration of Irish food at the Irish pavilion at Dubai's EXPO's 2020, Minister McConalogue said, "The theme of Ireland's participation at Expo is 'Island of Inspiration', and I can see that spirit of inspiration and creativity reflected in the Irish food producers, large and small, who are innovating and finding routes to premium markets in the Gulf region."

Speaking after a meeting with the leadership team of the Spinneys Group, Minister McConalogue said, "It was great to see some of the staples of the Irish Kitchen table on sale in the premium retailer of the region- Spinneys. Seeing Irish food being the 'go-to' choice for Spinneys is a testament to the world class food produced on Irish farms as well as the added value aspects we are continually seeking to develop."

And speaking at Gulfood, Minister McConalogue said, "Gulfood is at the crossroads of the world and is the biggest food Expo on the planet. Within a two hour flight from Dubai, there is a population of two billion people, so Gulfood is key for Irish Food companies to develop new customers and to engage with existing ones. In my meeting with Global buyers, they each commented on the tremendous quality of Irish food."

The statement published on gov.ie also included a statement from Bord Bia global business development director Ailish Forde, in which she said, "At the Gulfood Trade show and meetings, customers of Irish food and drinks showed a strong interest in Irelands food offering, particularly in the industry approach to sustainability through the Origin Green Programme, the high level of engagement between Ireland exporters and buyers is encouraging, and assured me that these opportunities will multiply as these economies grow, and their awareness of Ireland as a source of sustainable quality food and drink increases."

According to the statement published on gov.ie, Minister McConalogue has now started the next leg of the trade mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with government to government exchanges with his counterpart Minister H.E. Eng. Abdul Rahman Al-Fadley, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and, the Secretary General of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), H.E. Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf.

Exclusive Chefs' Irish Beef Club Grows Its UAE Chapter

Additionally, Bord Bia has announced the appointment of a new member to its Chefs' Irish Beef Club (CIBC) in Dubai.

The CIBC is a network of Michelin star chefs from around the world who use and promote Irish beef. The CIBC has eight chapters globally across France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with 75 head chefs serving as ambassadors of premium Irish meat.

As part of the trade mission by Bord Bia to the Gulf region, Minister McConalogue and Kieran Fitzgerald, regional director, Middle East, Bord Bia, joined chefs and current members of the Chefs' Irish Beef Club UAE chapter Saradhi Dakara and Reif Othman in welcoming chef Eka Mochamad to the club. Chef Eka is head chef at the At.mosphere restaurant, which is located on floor 122 at the Burj Khalifa.

Accepting his new CIBC uniform jacket and statue of the Táin Bó Cúailnge - the Brown Bull of Cooley - Eka said, "It is an absolute delight to be asked to be a member of the Chefs' Irish Beef Club, UAE chapter, joining such a prestigious group of internationally renowned chefs."

Minister McConalogue inducted the chapter's latest addition on day five of the trade mission to the Gulf region. The minister said, "I am delighted to see the Chefs' Irish Beef Club continue to grow here in the UAE as we see Irish beef appearing more and more on menus around the country. Chef Eka Mochamad joins a prestigious group of chefs worldwide that actively choose to serve Irish beef to their customers. Ireland is well known for its fresh, sustainably produced high-quality produce, and the Chefs' Irish Beef Club is a wonderful way to honour this."

Kieran Fitzgerald, regional director, Middle East, Bord Bia, stated, "Chef Eka's involvement in the Chefs Irish Beef Club is a remarkable endorsement for Irish beef. Our market insights tell us that close to a third (29%) of UAE beef consumers are now willing to pay a premium for high-quality beef, ahead of anything else, and that Irish beef delivers at this level. We are proud that as head chef at the world’s highest restaurant, Chef Eka is now in a position to showcase the best of Irish beef to discerning consumers in the UAE. With Irish exports to the UAE showing a steady rise, we look forward to this exclusive club truly coming into its own."

Chef Saradhi Dakara, group executive chef of The Maine (Dubai), stated, "Being a member of the UAE chapter of CIBC, I can proudly say we've learnt so much through this journey. We've had the opportunity to discover how Irish beef is produced, and how Irish animals are raised and cared for, as well as better appreciate the sustainable, grass-based agriculture that underlies Irish beef production. I look forward to engaging with more renowned chefs with a shared passion for Irish produce in the future."

Chef Reif Othman, founder and owner of Reif Japanese Kushiyaki (Dubai), stated, "As a long-standing supporter of Irish beef, I am delighted to say that Irish beef is a world leader in terms of quality and taste. Having witnessed first-hand the care and attention that goes into producing quality Irish beef on a trip to Ireland, I’m very excited to see what the coming years hold for Irish produce given the increase in demand."

Marking his inauguration as a member of the UAE chapter of the CIBC, Chef Eka prepared a meal showcasing ingredients sourced from Irish suppliers by Dubai-based "WISK Foodstuff Trading", including John Stone beef, Irish organic salmon, Cooleeney cheese, Corleggy cheese, Clara Fields Dulce de Leche, Avonmore cream, and Killowen Farm yogurt, with products from Butlers Chocolates and The Foods of Athenry for dessert.

The CIBC was set up in 2004 with a view to bringing together the most skilled of chef admirers and appreciators of Irish beef abroad. These chefs serve as advocates of Irish beef, and accelerate valuable trade partnerships, and meet regularly in their local chapters, and generally visit Ireland every two years.

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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