This weekend marks Ireland’s largest-ever trade mission to the Middle East and Gulf region.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney is leading the mission with more than 40 food and drink companies and equine agencies taking part.

During the course of the five-day mission, with visits to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi planned, Minister Coveney will meet political counterparts, government officials and food-buyers and equine interests. 

This mission the biggest the State has ever undertaken in the Gulf region. It is being held because the region had the potential to be a new hub of growth for the agri-food and equine sectors.

Among those companies involved in the trade mission are Glanbia, ABP and Kepak, as well as Bord Bia and the Irish Dairy Board.

Last year Ireland exported more than €200m worth of food and drink to the Gulf region. Dairy products and ingredients accounted for most of the food exports, with Saudi Arabia importing €95m worth of Irish dairy products.

Other Irish products consumed in the Gulf region include beef, farmhouse cheeses, poultry, oysters, salmon, potatoes, eggs, chocolate and herbs.