DAERA supporting Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector at Ploughing Championships

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The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is attending the Ploughing Championships in Co Offaly in support of the Northern Ireland agri-food sector.

The Republic of Ireland’s National Ploughing Championships this year welcomes around 1,700 exhibitors and provides an important platform to develop business opportunities for the future and to strengthen brand presence in growing markets.

A large number of Northern Ireland businesses are showcasing their produce at a time when local companies have again excelled in last month’s UK Great Taste Awards.

Noel Lavery, DAERA Permanent Secretary

Speaking at a reception at the DAERA Pavilion, Permanent Secretary Noel Lavery praised Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.

He said: “A large number of Northern Ireland businesses are showcasing their produce at a time when local companies have again excelled in last month’s UK Great Taste Awards.

“Seen as the annual ‘Oscars’ of the food and drink industry, a total of 180 gold stars were awarded to Northern Ireland food and drink companies. In addition, nine local businesses achieved the top three gold star rating and three achieved Golden Fork Awards.

“Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector continues to compete successfully as part of the local, national and international food chain, providing high quality produce with traceability and provenance that is internationally recognised and valued.”

At this year’s event, DAERA is also supporting the development of the knowledge and skills needed for a successful agri-food industry. Representatives from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) are promoting their excellent facilities and high quality courses.

Also attending the championships, CAFRE director Martin McKendry said: “The college plays a vital role in providing suitably qualified people with the right skills to ensure the continued success of our local agri-food industry.

“The industry also supports the work of CAFRE in providing a range of bursaries, work placements, and jobs for our graduates. On average, over 98% of CAFRE students are in employment, on a gap year or progress onto further education within six months of completing their course.”

CAFRE staff are on hand to discuss the wide range of food and equine courses also available to prospective students.

Find out more about CAFRE at: https://www.cafre.ac.uk/

The National Ploughing Championships 2017 are held at Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly from 19 to 21 September 2017. The DAERA stand is located at Block No 2, Row No 11, Stand: 259.