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Latest figures demonstrate continued growth of local food and drinks processing sector – O’Neill

30 November, 2012 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA has today welcomed the latest figures which highlight the continuing strong performance of the local food and drinks processing sector.

The figures were published in the annual report, ‘Size and Performance of the N.I. Food and Drinks Processing Sector, Subsector Statistics 2010, with provisional estimates for 2011’.

The Minister said: “The sector recorded impressive growth in turnover, profitability and exports between 2009 and 2010. This is particularly welcome at a time when other sectors in the economy were in great difficulty. The figures demonstrate the resilience of our local food and drinks processing sector and its important contribution to the local manufacturing sector and wider economy.”

The Minister said that the initiatives undertaken by her Department continued to contribute towards the performance of the sector. She said: “The work undertaken at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus remains very valuable to the sector. Loughry Campus provides a range of full-time and part-time, higher and further education food courses up to degree level, which provide a highly skilled pool of potential employees and managers for our local food and drinks processing businesses. In addition, it provides a range of technical support services for food businesses.

“The Agri-Food Strategy Board, which was appointed by myself and the Minister of Enterprise Trade and Investment, is aiming to provide a strategic plan to develop the agri-food sector to 2020 and beyond. This will play an important role in ensuring that the potential of the sector is maximised for the good of our economy.”

The Minister concluded: “I am also pleased that the very successful Processing and Marketing Grant (PMG) Scheme has re-opened for applications again this week. This scheme will be instrumental in helping the north’s food and drinks processing businesses to expand, develop and improve their economic performance.”

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