From September 30 – October 5th 2018, the European Union funded project “Support to Further Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD III)” organised a five-day study tour to Ireland focused on development of exports of agri-food production for representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources of Turkmenistan and the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan.
The agenda of the study tour offered an opportunity to study the Irish experience as one of the most dynamic and progressive food exporting countries in the world. The tour was hosted by Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI), a subsidiary of Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government agency that leads and supports business development and the development of exports from Ireland.
The Turkmen group visited the following organisations:
– Enterprise Ireland Food & Beverage Division who are responsible for developing and supporting food and beverage sector enterprises across the entire value chain
– Bord Bia – Ireland’s Food exporting agency who support Irish companies desiring to break into export markets across the globe, and who operate the unique Origin Green programme across the entire food value chain.
– The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), which is the body responsible for ensuring the Quality and Safety of Irish food products on both domestic and export markets (operating under the Ministry of Health).
– Teagasc – the body responsible for providing information and technical advice to farmers as well as value chain stakeholders. Teagasc also engages in stakeholder education and training, as well as conducting research into all aspects of food production, diversification, quality and safety.
– Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Marine (DAFM) – which is the responsible body for consulting, devising and implementing the policy for developing production and export of Irish food products (85% of what Ireland grows is destined for export).
The guests engaged in close discussion with senior technical personnel in the above organisations and were made familiar with Irish experience in the field of food industry development. Participants also visited rural based development organisations, a successful large-scale farm, farmer owned and run dairy cooperative which has developed to a scale that allows it to compete effectively in export markets. The topics discussed included animal bioscience, grassland science, livestock systems, skills and technologies in expanding dairy production, and profitable growth of the agri-businesses.
The study tour was part of SARD III activities aimed at supporting the Government of Turkmenistan in increasing productivity and competitiveness of the agri-food sector through activities that improve production, processing and marketing, as well as strengthening the capacity of supporting public sector agriculture institutions. More information on SARD III activities is available at www.sard3tm.org