Ireland's Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster have launched a small business research initiative competition designed to find alternative, sustainable ways to use poultry litter that they hope will both meet the requirements of the EU Nitrates and Water Framework Directives and support industry development.

"Having met with a range of stakeholders, I believe there are potential options that should be tested," said O'Neill. The buying power of the public is expected to be a key driver of innovation in the competition.

"The broiler poultry sector in Northern Ireland is a significant part of the local economy, sustaining on-farm employment for over 1,400 people, with a further 4,600 people employed in processing, and generating over 14 percent of the gross output of the local agriculture sector," said Foster. "The launch of this [small business research initiative] competition is therefore an important step forward in helping to address this major issue to ensure the sustainability of the local poultry sector and its growth."

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