Ireland wants bigger slice of Philippine dairy market

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
Ireland wants bigger slice of Philippine dairy market
Filipinos’ limited access to fresh milk will be addressed by MPAV’s 22-hectare, P2-billion dairy facilities in Bay, Laguna.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Ireland is eyeing to tap a bigger chunk of the Philippine dairy market as the Irish Food Board (Bord Bia) launched a three-year campaign to drive dairy exports in two Southeast Asian countries.

Bord Bia announced a three-year, €3.2 million promotional campaign called European Dairy–Ireland to drive €15-million in dairy export growth to Malaysia and the Philippines. It is  part of a wider campaign in Japan and Vietnam launched last year.

Irish dairy exports to Asia have increased by 48 percent so far this year, largely driven by the Philippines and Malaysia.

The campaign — co-funded by Bord Bia and the European Union — will target 10,000 Asian dairy buyers from Malaysia and the Philippines over the next two years while also seeing Asian buyers visit Irish dairy farms and processors. 

Bord Bia will also host two dairy technical seminars in Malaysia and the Philippines under this campaign. 

In a briefing last week, Bord Bia CEO Jim O’Toole said they are optimistic about the growth prospects since the Philippines has a big import requirement for dairy. The country imports 99 percent of its dairy needs.

“We haven’t put a specific figure on numerical value on each market. But given the fact that the Philippines has…a bigger share of dairy exports than Malaysia, we would see that the greater part of that number would come from the Philippines,” O’Toole said.

To drive Irish dairy exports to the Philippines, two of Ireland’s leading dairy processors, Tirlán and Lakeland Dairies, are planning to establish a retail presence in the Philippines.    

The two companies signed agreements with dairy distributors to supply Irish cream and butter to the Philippine market during the first high-level trade mission in the Philippines last week.

Lakeland Dairies will supply cream under its Millac Gold brand, while Tirlán will supply Avonmore cream and butter.

Last year, Irish dairy exports to the Philippines increased by 107 percent to €72 million. In 2021, dairy exports were valued at €35 million.

The first high-level trade mission in the Philippines — which is part of its fifth trade mission to Southeast Asia — aims to strengthen Ireland’s reputation for providing sustainable, safe, and high-quality food and drink in the region.

“Sustainable food systems is something that Ireland is taking the lead on and wants to be a world leader in terms of our food vision and 10-year strategy and I believe that we can work really closely together,” said Martin Heydon, Irish Minister of State for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development.

Ireland’s export priority markets within Southeast Asia are Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

In 2022, Irish exports to Southeast Asia were valued at an estimated €394 million — equivalent to 27 percent of Asian exports — led primarily by dairy powders as ingredients for further manufacturing.

In the Philippines, the primary Irish export sectors are dairy (€72 million), beef (€49 million), pigmeat (€24 million), drinks (€1.5 million), sheepmeat (€701,084) and seafood (€91,000).

Bord Bia said Irish food and drink exports to the Philippines have shown impressive growth in the past five years, particularly in dairy, beef, and pigmeat, reflecting the increasing demand for these products in the region.

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