Partner Focus - Bord Bia

Joe Moore

Market Manager, Japan and Korea, Bord Bia

Tell me about your organisation?

Bord Bia, The Irish Food Board, is Ireland’s state agency responsible for driving the growth of Irish food and drink. Our purpose is to bring Ireland’s outstanding food, drink and horticulture produce to the world, thus enabling the growth and sustainability of producers.

For me as the Market Manager for Japan, based here in Ireland House, that means supporting the growth of Ireland’s food and drink exports to the market and growing the awareness of Ireland as a world-class producer of food and drink to Japanese trade and consumers.

Bord Bia has quite a wide remit. For example, back home, Bord Bia is also the organiser of the fantastic Bloom festival, which celebrates gardening and horticulture. Bloom takes place each June in the Phoenix Park, attracting thousands of people.

Why did your organisation set up in Japan?

In essence, because Japan is becoming more and more of an important market for Irish food and drink. We have actually been exporting to Japan for decades, but there has been strong growth in recent years. Total exports to Japan were worth €128m, growth of 16% on 2018. After China, Japan is the biggest market for Irish exports in Asia.

There are a number of reasons contributing to this. Chief among them would be the macro trends in Japan of population, GDP, domestic food production, food imports etc which signify a growth opportunity for Ireland. We gained access for beef exports in 2014, and sheepmeat in 2019. The recent EU Japan Economic Partnership Agreement has a positive impact on Irish exports to Japan. In addition, one positive coming from Brexit would be encouraging diversification – Ireland’s food and drink producers are constantly looking to explore and build new markets.

What initiatives are you looking forward to in the next year?

We all know the impact coronavirus has had on business activities. I hope that as life gets back to (a new) normal, we will be able to organise promotional seminars and buyer events. Foodex, which take place in March but was cancelled this year, is a key event for us. We are looking forward to Foodex 2021. And after gaining access for sheepmeat export in 2019, we are keen to show Japan the excellent quality and taste of Irish lamb, this is one example of ongoing work.

Another key part of my role is reporting on the market to our client companies, to give them insight and help them to make informed decisions to grow in the market. I am looking forward to growing Bord Bia’s Japan network and knowledge base to help Irish companies succeed here.

For you, why is involvement in the IJCC important?

We all know how fantastic Irish food and drink is. And it is the first thing I miss! So I am glad to keep IJCC members and the IJCC network up to date on developments with Irish food and drink in the market here, and in particular what is available and where etc. It is great to have the support of the IJCC with events and spreading the word about quality Irish produce.

How can ties between Ireland and Japan become closer?

I think Ireland and Japan are becoming closer all the time, and the Irish government opening a new state agency office in Tokyo is just one example of this. My link with Japan started with the JET Programme. I think expanded participation in programmes like JET, and a greater number of working holiday visa participants would do a great deal to develop the personal.