“Ireland has the potential to become a significant supplier to the Middle East region,” said Mr Hussey at the Gulfood 2016 trade fair in Dubai.
“While we export 90% of what we produce in Ireland, it is estimated that as much as 80-90% of food consumed in the Gulf region is imported.
“The Gulf region population, which currently stands at 43.5m people, a 56% increase in one decade, is continuing to grow, with forecasts suggesting it will exceed 50m people by 2020.
"Our focus is to position Ireland as a sustainable supply solution to current and potential customers.”
The five-day Gulfood 2016 is the world’s largest food and hospitality trade show, attended by 90,000 food buyers from 156 countries.
In 2015, Irish food and drink exports to the Middle East were valued at €385m, up by 40% since the €275m exported in 2012.
The Gulf States of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain accounted for 70%, or €280m, of total exports to the Middle East.
Dairy and dairy ingredients represent the vast majority of Ireland’s food exports to the Middle East.
Other exports include beef, farmhouse cheeses, poultry, eggs, oysters, salmon, bakery, confectionery, herbs, tea, relishes, preserves, ice-cream, crisps, and potatoes.