Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland dairy drive pays off in Middle East

Buyers from Saudi, Dubai and Pakistan on a recent visit to Northern Ireland Image copyright Dairy Council NI
Image caption Buyers from Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Pakistan on a recent visit to Northern Ireland

A dairy export scheme has outstripped expectations by bringing in sales of almost £7m so far, three times its target.

Customers from markets in south-east Asia and the Middle East have bought milk powders, butter, cheese and UHT milk and cream after visiting on trade missions.

The buyers toured some of the best dairy facilities in Northern Ireland.

They also met farmers who produce the milk.

The visits are part of an export drive run by the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, that is being 50% funded by the European Union.

Image caption The delegations visit dairy farms around Northern Ireland

The drive was set up in 2015 to help local dairy companies identify new markets.

So far, 44 buyers from nine countries have visited.

Sales in the first two years of the three-year programme have amounted to £6.7m, far beyond the £3.2m target for the entire three years.

Dr Mike Johnston, chief executive of Dairy Council NI, said the export drive had "exceeded all expectations".

"Milk from Northern Ireland herds is widely recognised as being among the best in the work in terms of quality."

He said the sales were testimony to the commitment and expertise of Northern Ireland's dairy farmers who produce a quality product.

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