31/07/2008

Minister Goes To Work On An Egg

One of the largest local egg packing companies, Skea Egg Farms in Co Tyrone has been praised for its role in agri-food.

NI Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew visited Donaghmore's Skea Egg Farms - a producer and packer of eggs - and met Managing Director, Matthew Hayes, who started the business in the early 1970s when Skea Egg Farms Ltd initially supplied the wholesale market.

She was told that mergers with Richlea Eggs and Burnside Eggs led to Skea Eggs becoming the largest local producer and packer, which now supplies premium eggs to a large number of multiple and independent retailers.

Having toured the packing facilities, Minister Gildernew said: "Family-run businesses are at the heart of our agri-food industry and the Hayes family continue to make a major contribution to our poultry sector. Skea Eggs plays a key role in the local poultry packing industry and is to be congratulated for its commitment to providing such a high quality product.

"Over the years it has successfully marketed its product innovatively. I am impressed by the extent of the modern facilities which are now operating in Donaghmore.
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"It is only through an ongoing process of awareness and modernisation such as Skea Eggs illustrates here, that local companies can increase market share and adhere to the latest legislation.

"These facilities offer local poultry growers a stable and sustainable outlet for their products and help maintain industry and jobs in the rural community.

"I am proud that my Department was able to assist Skea Eggs to successfully secure almost £287,000 grant aid from the previous PMG scheme to help them expand.

"Local processors and producers should all take heed of what can be achieved with PMG funding and consider what opportunities the new Rural Development Programme could offer them or their business," she said, noting details of the Processing and Marketing (PMG) Scheme.

She said it is worth £21.5million and forms part of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD).

She explained that the PMG scheme encourages the agriculture, horticulture and forestry sectors to become more competitive, to respond to customer demand, to be more innovative and to add value to their produce.

(BMcC)

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