Armagh agri firm invests in R&D to boost export sales

Armagh-based JF McKenna has invested over £50,000 in research and development with help from Invest Northern Ireland, which aims to secure new business in Great Britain and Europe.

The company was established in 1960 as one of the first mushroom growing enterprises in Ireland. It has successfully diversified from its original business activity into the fabrication and manufacture of plastic packaging products for the food and horticultural sectors.

Invest NI offered over £17,000, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), to help JF McKenna create an innovative mushroom growing house. The new product combines an advanced frame structure with high performance recycled weatherproof materials.

The mushroom house has been designed to perform in regions with severe climatic conditions. With its optimised growing space and robustness it is a cost effective alternative to solid panel structures.

The new product will enhance the company’s potential to secure new business in GB, Europe and beyond.

Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology, commented: “JF McKenna is an established export focused business which recognises the importance of creative measures and continuous improvement to support business growth.

“This exciting R&D project demonstrates the company’s commitment to adapting the business to reflect market conditions. JF McKenna’s investment will create opportunities to gain new customers and enhance the company’s competitive position.”

Brendan McKenna, Managing Director of JF McKenna, commented: “Our new product offers customers a more profitable method of growing produce and has widespread market potential throughout agri, food and horticultural industries. Invest NI’s support has been integral to the success of this project and we will be working hard to publicise our mushroom house in target markets and boost export sales.”