McIlveen urges agriculture sector to look to a bright future

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Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen today hailed the opening of Fane Valley’s new premises as an endorsement of the potential opportunities ahead for the local agriculture industry.

Formed in 1903, Fane Valley is a 100% farmer owned co-operative operating across Europe with more than 2,100 employees. The new head office, central warehousing and logistics centre in Moira marks a large investment in the future of the co-operative.

Speaking at today’s official opening, Miss McIlveen underlined the need for Northern Ireland’s farming industry to remain positive in times of economic uncertainty and to exploit the changing domestic and global marketplaces. She said: “The future of our agriculture industry is hugely important to me and I am determined that Northern Ireland develops a globally competitive agri-food industry for future generations.

“Fane Valley was formed more than 100 years ago and I am delighted to see the continuing growth of the co-operative which has kept it’s farming roots with local farmers retaining ownership. This impressive new centre aims to expand its agricultural retail business and I congratulate Fane Valley for its efforts to not only consolidate and grow its market presence, but for its leadership in making a substantial investment in its business in what are challenging economic times.”

Miss McIlveen also urged the industry to avail of the help available through the second tier of the Farm Business Investment Scheme (FBIS) which will provide support for on-farm projects in excess of 30,000. She added: “I want to see a strong, profitable farming sector which is well prepared and equipped to not only meet the economic challenges ahead, but to exploit new market opportunities that will see Northern Ireland remain a world leader in agriculture.

“Through Tier 2 of the FBIS Capital Scheme I aim to focus on the development of future-proofed, fit for purpose, modern infrastructure and equipment on our farms. I’d urge farmers and growers to take advantage of the opportunities available through the scheme.

“As Northern Ireland moves towards a post-Brexit marketplace amid ongoing global trade negotiations, let us not focus on the possibility of new barriers to trade but instead let’s work together to create new resilient business opportunities to ensure a bright future for our agriculture sector.”