In partnership with Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Cork Institute of Technology, KPMG, Teagasc and the Chinese Ireland Journal, Asia Matters held the 5th Asia Matters Business Summit in Cork 23 & 24 May 2019 to celebrate 40 years of China Ireland diplomatic relations and focus on the key drivers for future growth. Day 2, kindly hosted by Teagasc, Ireland’s Agriculture & Food Development Authority, focused on Food Research & Innovation and developing Strategic Business Partnership with China.

The Food & Agri-Business Summit featured a key note speech from Michael Creed TD, Irish Minster for Agriculture, Food & The Marine followed by two panels of expert speakers who shared their knowledge with over 150 participants from Ireland and China including high level government and business delegations from Beijing, Shanghai and Wuxi.

During his keynote speech, Minister Creed welcomed the Chinese delegations and acknowledged the value of today’s Summit, thanking Asia Matters for:

“The valuable work that Asia Matters does which is in sync with the work of the department when it comes to recognising the importance ofAsia and in particular China to Ireland”.

He also underlined the value of Ministerial led trade missions which:

“Help build on our existing strong relationships with Government and regulatory agencies, progressing market access for key products, and providing opportunities for Irish meat and dairy companies in particular to foster relationships with key Chinese partners.”

China Ireland Food & Agri-BusinessSummit–Executive Summary

Opening the Summit, Chairman of Asia Matters Alan Dukes thanked the sponsors for their great support and the leaders of the three delegations from China for giving of their valuable time to visit Cork and meet potential partners. He also stressed the value to Ireland’s Agri Food sectorof Teagasc,given its standing as a global centre of food excellence.

In his key address on partnering with China, Mr. Song Jingwu, Vice President, The Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries,highlighted business opportunities for world class Irish companies,expressing that China hopes:“Towork together with Ireland to promote food trade, share experience in food safety and learn from each other to exchange technical and innovation ideas and practice with the aim to achieve mutual reciprocal trade relations.

“Responding to Vice President Song, Therese Healy, Consul General of Ireland in Shanghai spoke of the deepening China Ireland partnership in the Agri food sector, highlighting the importance of building trust, people to people exchanges and the game changing official approvals.

Expert Panel on Food Research & Innovation

Dr Mark Fenelon opened the first panel, welcoming guests from China and key Irish stakeholders to Teagasc. He explained the importance of a collaborative approachboth within Ireland and in China, notingthat Teagasc works closely withthe Department of Food, Agriculture& the Marine, Bord Bia, higher education institutes, leading Irish food multinationals and with 12 universities in China to establish research requirements in order to deliver products of the future.

Key Findings

Scientific Research plays a key role in driving innovation and new products that appeal to consumers in different markets. Expanding on Teagasc’ current research collaborations with China, Dr Fenelon outlined the 12 current partnerships Teagasc has with Chinese Universities which are led by Professor Song Miao. Looking to the future, key trends for research collaboration between China and Ireland,to the benefit of both industries,include the bio-economy and the digital space.Crucial importance of Innovative Collaboration – Ireland has a reputation for cutting edge innovation and collaboration -current collaborationschanging the future of food include:

•Greenbreed which uses genomics & animal breeding to promote sustainability from dairy, beef & sheep sectors

•3D dairy which uses 3D printing to make novel food commodities –we may in the future be able to make ahigh protein sugar snack that would be portable and nutritious

World class innovation based Irish Food & Agri businesses such as Devenish are utilising Science & Innovation to enable nutrients to be delivered through the food chain–creating healthy soilso it produces optimally, bringing the nutrients through the plant, the animal and through to the consumer.

The role of trust and ensuring food safety is a critical success factor to drive exports to Asia and China in particular –the Food Safety of Authority of Ireland has a world class safety control system that protects food consumers here and across the globe. It is also a stamp of quality for buyers and consumers in China.

Sustainable Agriculture is a key and growing trend –Ireland has a competitive advantage in that it can produce food in a sustainable way -Bord Bia’s Origin Green brand is a world leading food and drink sustainability programme and a huge advantage for Agri fexportersto China and beyond.

The importance of ensuring a healthy talent pipeline through delivering high quality courses at third level designed to meet future demands of the Agri food sector. One such exampleisthe CIT run programme,BSCin Agri Bio-Sciences. Given that the skillsdemand for talent is continuously evolving, third level education must continue to meet this demand.

Continued investment into the sector is critical. Ireland has invested heavily in Agrifood research and as a result Irish third level institutes and Teagasc are performing well globally. UCD last year was ranked in the top 20 universities in the world for Agrifood.

Cllr. Mary Hegarty, Deputy Mayor of Cork Countygave great insight into the role of Cork County in developing the rural economy through Agri Tech sector support, highlighting the importance of building partnerships with China and both the strength of the cluster ecosystem in Cork County and the commercialisation of research to drive innovation.

MrFu Aiming, Director, Foreign Affairs Office, Minhang, Shanghai gave an excellent presentation on Building a Hi Tech Intelligent Manufacturing Belt & Planning a “Future AI Town”.

Expert Panel on Strategic Partnership

Chair Padraig Brennan, Director of Markets Bord Bia(Irish Food Board), echoed the words of Vice President Song on the growing relationship between China and Ireland over the least 4 decades. He also outlined the importance of the strengthening China Ireland relationship to the Irish Agri food industry –highlighting that in the last 5 years alone Irish food and Agri exports to China have grown 5 fold to almost a billion euro per annum with dairy as the key engine of that growth –in that context he welcomed Jason Hawkins, CEO Carbery Group, Jim Woulfe CEO Dairygold and Brian Mehigan, Chief Strategy Officer Kerry Group to share their experience in growing a global company from Ireland, building strategic partnerships with China and planning the key drivers of success in opportunities for future growth.

Key Findings

Sustainability is a key driver and underpins all growth

Understanding future consumer needs in China and working with local partners is critical–for Carbery Group,an increased interest in sports nutrition creates significant opportunity as does a growing ageing population which needs nutritional and clinical solutions.Building long term strategic partnerships of trust on the ground in China is crucial, particularly around supply chain, regulatory environment and understanding the cultural tastes and shopping needs of Chinese consumers. Dairygold, for example has built a strong partnership with Milky Way in China over the last 15 yearsand has used this as proof of trust to expand in China.For Irish exporters the importance of attending trade fairs and trade missions in China cannot be overstated, similarly working with Ireland’s globally best in class agencies including Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland andthe Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade will drive success.

Investing in best in class research & technology is essential to drive future growth –for Kerry Group holistically supporting partners on the ground in Asia through R&D centres has been transformational, enabling Kerry to be effectively the outsourced product development arm of local partners.

It is important to understand the speed of development and change in China and adapt business models to reflect this, enabling partners to develop products rapidly to meet consumer demands.

Understanding and being fully compliant with the ever tightening regulatory demands globally and in particularly in China is crucial.

It is vital that staff are on the ground in China, have language capability, that marketing materials are in Chinese and social media platforms such as WeChat are fully utilized.

Jianglai Weng, Head of Being mate Ireland also shared his insights on understanding Chinese consumer needs and working with partners in China who share the same values, for example green and healthy. Wrapping up the panel, David Meagher, Head of Agribusiness KPMGshared his insightson what KPMGsee as the future of Agribusiness in a global context:

•Increased disruption and techonology integration –with agtech becoming more important to the industry

•Food Integrity –it is becoming increasingly vital to be able to prove what is on the food label is what is in the product

•Data driven insights –using data to drive improvements in business models –there are still the challenges of food waste & starvation globally.

Martin Murray, Executive Director Asia Matters closed the Summit, thanking all involved and outlined the 21 &22 May 2020 Asia Matters Business Summit Cork themes: Chinese agriculture and Chinese tourism.

For Membership queries, please contact:

Martin Murray

Executive Director

For Partnership queries, please contact:

Samantha Hobbs

Director of Corporate Affairs

The 5th Asia Matters Business Summit Cork

China Ireland Food and Agri-Business Summit

Day 2 Moorepark Teagasc Food Research Centre, Fermoy Friday 24 May 2019

8.45 Registration & Networking
9.15 Welcome Remarks & China Ireland Context Alan Dukes, Chairman Asia Matters
9.30 Partnering with China-Key address by Mr. Song Jingwu, Vice President, TheChinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countrieswith response from Therese Healy, Consul General of Ireland in Shanghai
10.00 Expert Panel 1on Food Research & Innovation
  Chaired by Alan Dukes, Chairman Asia Matters & former Irish Minister for Agriculture
  Dr. Mark FenelonHead of Food Programme, Teagasc Food Research Centre
  Dr. Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, Food Safety Authority of Ireland
  Eva Lewis, Devenish Group
  Dr. Craig Murphy, Director Agri-Biosciences, Cork Institute of Technology
  Professor Dolores O’Riordan, Director, Institute for Food & Health, UCD
11.00 Coffee Break
11.30 The Role of Cork County in Developing the Rural Economy through
  AgriTech Sector Support –Cllr. Mary Hegarty, Deputy Mayor of Cork County
  South Shanghai -Building a HiTech Intelligent Manufacturing Belt &Planning 
  “Future AI Town “Mr. Fu Aiming, Director, Foreign Affairs Office, Minhang, Shanghai
12.00 Expert Panel 2 on Strategic Business Partnership
  Chaired by Padraig Brennan, Director of Markets, Bord Bia (Irish Food Board)
  Jason Hawkins, Chief Executive, Carbery Group
  Jim Woulfe, Chief Executive, Dairygold
  Brian Mehigan,Chief Strategy Officer, Kerry Group Plc
  Jianglai Weng,Head of Beingmate Ireland
  David Meagher,Head of Agribusiness,KPMG
13.00 Key Address by Michael CreedTD, Minister for Agriculture, Food & The Marine
13.30 Closing remarks by Alan Dukes, Chairman Asia Matters
  Followed by Networking Lunch