There is “immense potential” for Ireland’s agri-food sector to collaborate further with partners in west Africa, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has said.

The minister visited Nigeria and Senegal as part of a trade mission to west Africa which focused on developing trade and economic relationships between Ireland and the region.

Irish agri-food, seafood and beverages have been promoted during the trade mission in the region where demand for affordable high-quality products is increasing.

Commenting on the “immense potential” for Ireland’s “dynamic” agri-food sector to collaborate further with partners in the region, Minister McConalogue said:

“Such partnerships will support mutual benefits, as we share the common aim of improving the contribution of the agri-food sector to our national economies.”

During the trade mission, Bord Bia clients met with over 300 trade targets demonstrating the current value and “significant potential” of the west African market.

“This marks a new phase of engagement for Bord Bia’s west Africa team, and I look forward to the follow up in the weeks ahead,” Bord Bia CEO, Jim O’Toole said.

West Africa trade mission

The trade mission identified opportunities to collaborate with United Nations (UN) agencies whom Ireland partners with in addressing food security and humanitarian needs in the region.

The minister concluded the Nigeria leg of the trade mission by hosting an Enterprise Ireland Agri-Innovation event in Lagos and by launching the Bord Bia “Spirits of Ireland” campaign.

Senior officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Bord Bia and Ireland’s new Embassy in Dakar held several engagements with agencies in Senegal.

Officials met with Senegalese agriculture ministries, and directors of UN agencies including the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

There were also a number of trade meetings and Bord Bia hosted a large agri-food business networking event for Irish and Senegalese companies, supported by the Irish Embassy in Dakar.