Agri-Food Sector Plays Vital Role In NI Economy – Lyons

The agri-food sector plays a vital role in Northern Ireland's wider economy helping to deliver the 10X economic vision, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has said.

Speaking at a breakfast event at the Balmoral Show made up of industry partners, Minister Lyons said: "Our local agri-food sector is a core component of our local economy. The most recent DAERA figures suggests the sector was worth some £1.67bn in 2020, 4% of Northern Ireland total GVA. In addition, it is estimated that the agri-food sector directly employed around 35,000 workers in 2020, approximately 4.2% of total employment, as well as supporting several thousands of additional jobs in related industries.
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"Over the past year I have launched a suite of strategies which will support and help deliver the bold and ambitious new 10X Economic Vision for the Northern Ireland economy. 10X focusses on our strengths, helping us to deliver a more innovative, more inclusive and more sustainable economy for the benefit of every person and every sector in Northern Ireland. Agri tech is one of the five key sectors identified in that strategy.

"The agri sector should be commended for its efforts in tackling climate change. Recent increases in energy costs, linked to geopolitical volatility, clearly illustrates the need to accelerate the roadmap to energy decarbonisation and self-sufficiency. My ambitious Energy Strategy - 'The Path to Net Zero', published last December, sets out a vision to deliver self-sufficiency in affordable renewable energy for Northern Ireland."

The Minister also highlighted the Independent Strategic Review of the Agri-Food sector (ISRAF), undertaken by Sir Peter Kendall: "The Kendall Review is an important piece of work and sets out a challenge for government.  Many of its recommendations, such as the industry-led sustainability body, align with the 10X Vision. It is now up to those of us in government to ensure the key recommendations are considered and delivered. To do this we need to work in partnership with our farmers, our processors, our retailers and everyone else in the agri-food sector, and for my part, I am committed to do just that."

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