The expansion of the dairy industry in Ireland is starting to affect the environmental health of the country’s lakes, rivers and estuaries.
Brad Burgess told Rural News at the National Ploughing Championships in Ireland recently that NZ’s exports to Ireland are now about $120 million.
And he sees good opportunities for NZ to sell products and services to Irish farmers who face challenges similar to their counterparts in NZ.
Burgess says the fact that the two countries have pasture based agriculture focused on dealing with environmental problems opens the door for NZ agritech companies to provide solutions to Irish farmers.
“Forty nine percent of our emissions are on farm and in Ireland’s case it’s 33%, which is unique in the developed world, even though we are leading carbon efficient producers,” he explained.
“The challenge is how can we work together to reduce that carbon footprint? We have companies... that can provide solutions for those challenges and enable them to connect with partners and build business opportunities with Ireland. This would reinforce to policy makers and leaders in Ireland the synergies and opportunities of partnering up with NZ companies.”
Burgess believes the NZ/Irish political relationship is very strong and now reinforced by both countries having set up embassies. He says the two countries have long collaborated in the agricultural sector and have similar views on research.
“It’s a close relationship,” he said.
NZ had a high profile at the Irish National Ploughing Championships this year with its own stand supporting NZ companies exhibiting. The NZ embassy site hosted NZ agritech companies looking for business in Ireland.
Callaghan Innovation business advisor Shane Dooley says they brought 24 companies to Ireland and the UK aiming to give them opportunity to see the market and explore channels for getting on farm. This also enabled them to discover similarities and differences and to look for opportunities.
“This is all about discovery, exploration, relationships and generally developing closer bonds. Ireland and NZ are a natural fit and our two peoples are remarkably similar, get on well and are both open to trading.”
Dooley says NZ technology fits well with Ireland because of the similarity of our farming systems and environmental problems.
Irish farmers, with the expansion of their dairy industry, are looking to NZ to see how it managed its expansion and to learn from our mistakes.