Welsh food and drink producers have strengthened ties with prospective partners and investors in Qatar last week. As part of the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales Trade Development Visit to Doha, ten food and drink companies from Wales were given the opportunity to showcase their products to a host of distributors and retail buyers, all looking to secure new business.
Qatar represents the second largest market in the Middle East for Welsh exports and is one of the top 20 markets worldwide for all Welsh exports, making it a key priority market of the Welsh and UK governments. The value of goods exports from Wales alone to Qatar in 2017 was over 750m QAR.
Representatives from Cardiff Airport were also among the delegation looking to capitalise on the new direct flight which operates up to 7 times per week between Cardiff and Doha, opening up the prospect of further trade and investment between the two countries.
The goal of the Trade Development Visit is to leverage networking and collaboration opportunities between the producers, Welsh Government and Qatar as well as strengthen business, trade and tourism relationships.
Speaking ahead of the visit, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, said:
“This trade visit to Qatar provides a great opportunity for Welsh food and drink producers seeking to build new contacts in overseas markets and is part of our overall drive to support Welsh exports which is vital for the Welsh economy as we look to leave the EU.”
“Exports for the sector have grown in the past decade and continue to grow. I am delighted we are supporting this group of producers going out to Doha to explore new markets first hand and develop further connections with international businesses.”
The Welsh companies that took part in the Trade Development Visit include Daioni Organic, Dairy Partners, Dunbia Wales, Farmers Fresh Wales, Fayrefield Foods, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, Mulrines & Sons Sales Uk Ltd, Prima Foods UK Ltd, Randall Parker Foods and Rhug Organic Farm.
During the visit delegates will take part in market briefings, trade networking events, a store visit programme and Meet the Buyer event.
One of the companies, Mulrines, manufactures a range of juices and smoothies has its processing plant in Deeside, north Wales where they produce a range of fruit flavoured milk products and organic soya and almond drinks.
John Bonner, Commercial Manager for Mulrines, said:
“The Middle East is an interesting export market for us. We don’t currently have a distribution network for our products in this area and seen this visit as a great opportunity for us in a Key market such as Qatar.
Another company who embarked on the trade visit is Pembrokshire based Daioni Organic, leading provider of premium quality organic milk products. Recently Daioni have partnered with a regional distributor and have launched initially into Carrefour with their Daioni Organic range.
Commenting Sales Export Manager, Daniel Jones commented:
“Qatar is an important market with a growing population that offers huge opportunities for Welsh businesses in the food & drink sector. We have been in the region for a few years but mainly through UK consolidators, so this was an important step in moving the brand forwards and continuing to grow in such a key market.
Huw Lewis, Finance Director at Cardiff Airport added:
“We are delighted to see Food & Drink Wales using the great opportunity presented by the new Qatar Airways service to develop stronger trade links. The flight allows businesses from across Wales to export not only to Qatar but further afield to global destinations across Africa, Asia and Australasia.
“At Cardiff Airport, our mission is to generate significant economic benefit to Wales and we will continue to support industry by connecting Wales to the world and facilitating trade opportunities wherever possible.”
The Welsh Government’s Trade Development Visit to Doha, Qatar took place 29 September – 3 October 2018.