Driving Change in the Agri-food Sector

Over 50 representatives from the Northern Ireland Agri-Food sector, were today informed of exciting developments driven by the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership (FSIP), that will greatly enhance the focus, capability and competitiveness of the sector.

FSIP, which emerged from industry views expressed in the Fit For Market Report in 2004, has, in association with its delivery partners Invest Northern Ireland and DARD, driven change by ensuring new initiatives have been implemented in the important areas of marketing, innovation, supply chain and new skills development.

Speaking at the industry update event, Dan Flinter, FSIP Chairman, said:

“Significant achievements made by FSIP within the sector over the last six months include quantum changes in the depth of market research available to local companies and the appointment of two full time executives in Great Britain to secure significant local product listings for SME’s in export markets.”

Commenting on a range of initiatives to attract new talent to the industry Dan continued:

“The agri-food industry is of vital importance to the Northern Ireland economy. In order to invest in the industry’s future leadership skills, FSIP has funded the placement of fifty graduates in the industry over two years, the launch of a brand new Masters in Food Marketing qualification at UU and the introduction of a new entrepreneurial management development programme which takes a unique approach to developing management skills.

Recently, FSIP has taken receipt of significant propositions in relation to future developments within the industry. These include the Foresight Leadership report, outlining a specific innovation vision for the sector in 2020 and the opportunity to develop a joined up marketing communication concept for Northern Ireland agri-food industry.

Looking to the future Dan concluded: “Much has been achieved to date, and the findings from the recent Foresight Leadership Report identify further opportunities to develop a vibrant innovative sector in an industry of vital importance to the Northern Ireland economy. A number of key challenges remain and we will continue to put proposals on the table to ensure sustainable, effective change.”