29/10/2004

Marketing and innovation central to dairy success, says Minister

Marketing and innovation are central to the success of the Northern Ireland dairy industry, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ian Pearson, has said.

The Minister was speaking at the opening of a major dairy industry conference for Northern Ireland milk producers and processors, entitled ‘Milk – Your Future’, where he revealed that £4.5 million would be allocated to respond to the recommendations of the Food Strategy Group Report.

This would see the implementation of programmes and initiatives that the industry has identified as vital to the continued success and development of the whole Northern Ireland agri-food industry.

"Better marketing, better innovation, developing the capability of leaders in the sector and enhanced supply chain arrangements, are key areas where progress, in the short and medium term, needs to be achieved,” the Minister said.

"That requires investment in research and new product development, and in acquiring an intimate knowledge of the market, consumer behaviours and emerging trends. Future milk production decisions will be driven to a greater extent by the realities of the market."

The ‘Milk – Your Future’ conference, held at the Greenmount Campus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, was jointly organised by DARD Supply Chain Development Branch, Dairy UK, The Dairy Council for Northern Ireland and the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

(MB/GMCG)

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