NI Ag Minister Walks Pork Supply Chain

by 5m Editor
30 March 2012, at 8:30am

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill yesterday said that the pig industry in the north continues to play an important part in the continued growth of the local agri-food industry.

The Minister was speaking as she visited a pig rearing unit and a pig processing factory in the Mid Ulster area.

The Minister said: “In 2010 the pig industry contributed over 395million to agriculture’s gross output in the north and provisional figures for 2011 are 3104million. These figures highlight that this sector continues to perform well even in the current difficult economic times.“

The Minister outlined the challenges the pig industry currently faces. She said: “This sector has a high dependence on imported feed and the fluctuating price of finished pigs can have an adverse impact on financial performance. There are also the expectations of consumers and retailers, especially in relation to animal welfare and the environment.

“We cannot change our island geography at the edge of Europe but we can seek to ensure maximum efficiency throughout the pork supply chain. My Department’s Evidence & Innovation Strategy is currently providing research funding to the pig sector to help address many of these challenges.“

After visiting the farm of Brian Johnston at Coagh to see his pig rearing unit, the Minister called at Vion Meats, Cookstown. She congratulated Managing Director, Seamus Carr, on the company’s recent announcement to invest 311.5million in the Cookstown factory and said: “This investment will support 164 new jobs as well as improving animal welfare and efficiency in this significant processing facility. This is good news for the pig industry and good news for the local economy.“?

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