Ministers confirm extension to tenure of Agri-Food Strategy Board

Date published: 25 January 2017

Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Michelle McIlveen and Economy Simon Hamilton today announced an extension to the tenure of the Agri-Food Strategy Board until 31 May 2017 to allow further progress to be made on actions arising from Going for Growth.

Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen and Economy Minister Simon Hamilton pictured with members of the Agri-Food Strategy Board (AFSB).

A great deal has been achieved since the Agri-Food Strategy Board was appointed in 2012, including delivery of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme to help primary producers in moving their enterprises forward; and receipt of the proposals from the Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy Group and the TB Strategic Partnership Group, both of which offer innovative approaches to tackling issues which are of concern to our industry and impact on its future. 

In addition, the draft Industrial Strategy for Northern Ireland published this week recognises that our agri-food sector has world class capabilities. It is important that the sector can realise the potential of these capabilities and continue to grow.

The Agri-Food Strategy Board has played a key role in helping to set the strategic direction for the sector. 

The tenure of the current Board was due to end on 19 February 2017, but Ministers have decided to extend the Board’s tenure for a short period to enable further progress to be made on remaining aspects of its work, including the strategic marketing organisation and the livestock genetics data hub. 

The Departments will continue to work closely with the industry in taking these important remaining actions forward.

Notes to editors: 

1.   The Agri-Food Strategy Board was established jointly in May 2012 by the then Northern Ireland Executive Ministers for Agriculture and Rural Development, and Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Its role was to develop a strategic action plan to help accelerate the growth of the agri-food industry. The Board’s tenure was due to end on 19 February 2017,however Ministers have decided to extend that term until 31 May 2017.

2. The extensions have been made in accordance with the principles of the CPANI Code of Practice. The extensions are based on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI requires the political activity of appointees to be published. None of the appointees carried out any political activity in the past five years.  Full biographies can be found on the AFSB website:

3. Going for Growth, a long term strategic action plan for the NI agri-food sector was published in May 2013.  Delivering Growth was published in March 2016, and sets out progress made since May 2013.  Copies of both documents and progress updates are available on the AFSB website.

4.   Key achievements arising from Going for Growth to date include:

·       the establishment of the Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre;

·        opening of the knowledge transfer and capital elements of the Farm Business Improvement Scheme;

·        the publication of the Sustainable Agricultural Land Management Strategy;

·        the launch of the Bovine TB Eradication Strategy;

·        the Agri-Food Loan Scheme;

·        the Sustainable Use of Poultry Litter (SUPL) project; and

·        the opening of 49 new export markets since the launch of Going for Growth.

5. Work is ongoing in respect of a new Food Processing Grant Scheme, the Environmental Farming Scheme, the development of a Livestock Genetics Data Hub and the development of a strategic agri-food marketing organisation.

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