The quality, scale and competitiveness achieved at Arrabawn Co-op was a deep learning curve for a Kenyan trade delegation when it visited the co-op’s Nenagh headquarters.
The 12 strong delegation from the Kenyan food industry, led by the Irish Ambassador to Kenya Dr Vincent O’Neill, were here last week to get a greater understanding of the processes and technologies that have enabled Ireland to become one of the world’s leading producers of top quality food and beverages.
Arrabawn was the only dairy processor visited by the delegation during its four day tour, which took in the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin and its Dairy Research Centre in Moorepark, Fermoy; dariy and beef farms; the Waterford ABP Food Group plant; the Department of Food Science & Technology at UCC and meetings with Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland.
The delegation then went on to attend the fifth Africa Ireland Economic Forum at the Convention Centre in Dublin on Friday attended by 300 participants representing business, government, policy makers and civil society.
Arrabawn CEO Conor Ryan said: “ It’s fair to say that the Irish dairy industry at the moment is one of the world leaders in terms of quality and corporate governance. It has taken a long time and a lot of hard work to get here and we are continually seeking to find opportunities to raise the bar again and again.
“In the very competitive global dairy market, and in a very difficult year in terms of price, quality is more essential than ever. Your very presence here shows that you, too, are seeking to improve in this area. We are delighted to be able to tell you our story but it is essentially about quality. It’s investing in technology and people to ensure we are delivering a premium product and getting the best possible price for our suppliers.”
Speaking after their visit, during which they were given a presentation on the co-op’s operations and a tour of the facility, KenInvest managing director Moses Ikiara said that the Kenyan dairy industry had much to learn from Arrabawn and other operators in Ireland.
“Arrabawn's scale and effectiveness was impressive, not least considering it is a cooperative. Its technology is modern, automated and its corporate governance is very solid. The food safety standards here (Arrabawn) are also very high. Kenya has a fairly strong cooperative sector although governance remains a significant challenge,” he said. “The average Kenyan doesn’t know much about the Irish dairy industry but having seen first-hand what goes on at Arrabawn, our delegation was amazed at the scale and competitiveness of operations.”