Posted: 09/03/2015

Northern Ireland follows Scottish model to set up food marketing body

NI Year of Food 2016
This announcement follows last week’s unveiling of the NI Year of Food & Drink by Enterprise minister Arlene Foster (centre)

The Northern Irish government has announced plans to set up an industry-led agri-food marketing body similar to Scotland Food and Drink.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said the new organisation was needed to sustain the growth of the country’s budding food industry.

“The food and drink sector is hugely important to the Northern Ireland economy,” she said. “It has a proven track record for growth, with turnover increasing by 6.7% last year to £4.5billion. The sector accounts for around a quarter of manufacturing industry sales and external sales.

“In terms of employment, agri-food supports almost 100,000 jobs when we include farming, fishing, retail and distribution.”

Foster added that the body would function like Scotland Food and Drink and aid marketing activities for both Government and private sector.

Last week, Foster teamed up with actor James Nesbitt and Tourism NI’s Howard Hastings to unveil plans to make 2016 Northern Ireland’s Year of Food.

The initiative will see series of events, which are aimed at tempting potential visitors with the country’s wealth of food and drink, held in the run up to 2016.

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