Northern Ireland

NI agri-food strategy unveiled by first and deputy first minister

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Media captionAgriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said up to 15,000 jobs could be created

The first and deputy first minister have launched a plan for the agri-food industry which aims to create 15,000 jobs over the next seven years.

The plan was unveiled at the Balmoral show.

It has more than 100 recommendations which are geared towards accelerating growth in the sector.

Agri-food is currently worth £5bn but the executive wants to increase that to £7bn by 2020.


The first minister Peter Robinson said; "Agri-food has immense potential to contribute to economic recovery and longer term prosperity in Northern Ireland".

Meanwhile, the agri-food sector has seen a huge boost in business in the last month since a decision was taken by Tesco to source more meat in Northern Ireland.

The volume of chicken supplied by Moy Park is up 250%.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said the uplift for Moy Park put them "well on the way to meeting their sales target of three million fresh chickens a week from Northern Ireland" by 2015.

Moy Park has major processing facilities in Dungannon and Ballymena and works with 600 local poultry farmers.

Two other local companies are also profiting.

Foyle Food Group in Londonderry is selling Tesco 50% more beef than previously and Karro in Cookstown has seen pork sales to the supermarket grow by 200%.

Ms O'Neill said she was "extremely pleased at the impact."

Prior to the initiative, Tesco was already buying £500m worth of goods from local suppliers annually.