Ag minister: Northern Ireland poultry sector an asset
Poultry is a key economic driver, Michelle McIlveen tells Moy Park
The poultry sector is a key driver for economic growth in Northern Ireland, agri-food Minister Michelle McIlveen said during a visit to Dungannon-based Moy Park, one of Europe’s leading poultry producers.
“Poultry producers, and the wider agri-food sector, are important players when it comes to growing our local economy. Looking ahead we know the importance of focusing on improving the quality of Northern Ireland agri-food products rather than focusing on simply improving production levels” Miss McIlveen said as she met with Janet McCollum, Chief Executive of the billion-pound business which employs some 6,400 people here.
“I was very impressed to hear about the company’s recent GBP25million (US$32.4 million) investment and its operating model which involves a close and highly effective working relationship with their poultry farmers. I will continue to work to deliver growth for the sector including support for companies such as Moy Park by exploring new export markets. Our recently introduced GPB12 million Sustainable Use of Poultry Litter (SUPL) loan scheme helps develop new sustainable ways to utilise poultry litter and has made good progress thanks to the work of Moy Park in partnership with government” Minister Michelle McIlveen continued.
As well as visiting the factory, the Minister visited nearby farmer Neil Symington who supplies poultry to Moy Park, one of the UK’s top 10 food companies and Northern Ireland’s largest private sector business.
“As global forecasts indicate a growth in demand for poultry meat, it is important for me to meet with Moy Park’s senior management and hear the challenges facing them, and the wider sector, in the months and years ahead.”
McCollum said she was delighted to welcome Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister Michelle McIIveen to Moy Park: “As one of Europe’s leading food companies, the visit offered a fantastic opportunity to showcase to the Minister our high standards in agriculture, animal welfare and food safety. Farming is at the heart of our business – we partner with 600 farmers across Northern Ireland, who supply poultry to the highest quality and welfare standards – and we were delighted to have the minister visit one of our farming partners near Dungannon.”
The minister also promised to continue to push for access to China’s markets for poultry meat but stressed that breaking into new markets was often a lengthy process.