This month, Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. led a St Patrick’s Week mission to New Zealand. The mission aimed at deepening the strong and growing political, cultural and trade links between our two countries. The Minister was joined on the mission by Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Brendan Gleeson and APAC Director for Enterprise Ireland, Mary Kinnane and included meetings and events across three cities: Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington culminating in the official opening of the Embassy of Ireland in New Zealand, led by H.E. Ambassador Jane Connolly.
Ireland and New Zealand have long enjoyed strong business links with Irish companies such as FINEOS, Combilift and Skillsoft establishing a strong presence in the market. Agriculture in particular has been a key growth market in recent years. Ireland and New Zealand agriculture share many similarities. Pasture based dairy farming is at the core of both of industries. Similar soil, climate and farming practices has made this a welcoming market to many Enterprise Ireland backed agritech companies. Companies such as McHale, Abbey Machinery and Dairymaster have been successful in providing cutting edge Irish machinery to New Zealand farmers.
The mission led by Minister McConalogue was an opportunity to celebrate and deepen these links. The visiting delegation had meetings with Lincoln University and AgResearch to discuss areas of further collaboration to tackle shared challenges such as reducing methane emissions and ensuring sustainable agriculture systems. The Minister joined events organised by the Irish Business Network New Zealand across three cities to recognise the significant contribution by the Irish diaspora in building the successful trade relationship between our two countries.
In Christchurch, the delegation visited the Belfast site of Silver Fern Farms in Christchurch to see how the site is utilising Irish firm Emydex’s cutting edge software on their factory floor. Silver Fern Farms is the largest livestock processor in New Zealand. The new Emydex system configured for Silver Fern Farm’s handles everything from the booking and intake of the animals and follows the flow through the factory floor including the stun station, live weight, head inspections, carcass inspections, reinspection, and grading.
In Auckland, Enterprise Ireland hosted a roundtable discussion on the issues faced by the Irish and Kiwi agritech sectors. Hosted by KPMG and addressed by KPMG Global Head of Agribusiness Ian Proudfoot, the event brought together leaders inNew Zealand to discuss issues around tech adoption, sustainability, and strategies to build and scale in the sector. During the event we were joined remotely by the founders of three leading Irish agritechs to share their insights, Diarmaid Mac Colgáin from Concept Dairy, Eoghan Finneran from Farmeye and Daniel Izquierdo from Micron Agritech.
We were delighted to host the Enterprise Ireland Wellington Advisory Panel at the newly opened Irish Embassy in Wellington. Fergal McGovern Founder and CEO of VisibleThread and Jack Ellis from Intuition presented to the panel. The Panel members offered valuable advice on next steps in market.
On behalf of the Enterprise Ireland, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to the visiting delegation as well as everyone who contributed to the success of the mission. We look forward to deepening our close ties with New Zealand in the years ahead.