Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has praised the quality of Northern Ireland’s dairy produce as it continues to be in demand across world markets.
The Minister was speaking at a dinner in Hillsborough Castle to mark the Dairy Council NI’s Inward Mission, 8 to 11 January, a programme to support exports of NI dairy products outside the EU.
Underlining the world-beating quality of agri-food industry, Miss Mcilveen said: “It is encouraging to welcome buyers from as far afield as Singapore and Thailand to see for themselves why our dairy produce is well-known for excellence across the world.
“It is vital that we highlight to our customers that our food is produced in a clean, green, sustainable way, underpinned by internationally recognised evidence-based science, with full traceability along the supply chain and a highly educated workforce.
“While our dairy produce continues to be sought across the world, I know our dairy industry is seeking to build further on this growth with their continued export programme and I wish them every success.”
In support of the three-year Inward Missions programme, DAERA officials provide important information for potential buyers by outlining local production systems, food safety official control programme and export certification controls.
Praising the role of DAERA in helping to promote the Northern Ireland agri-food brand, Miss McIlveen also urged the industry to be confident in its future as new markets emerge.
She said: “DAERA guidance on primary production, veterinary certification and oversight provides assurance that our industry can supply, high quality, sustainable and safe dairy products.
“Northern Ireland will continue to do business with our customers in the European Union and further afield, providing dairy products to the same high standards and the same focus on food quality.
“My department will continue to work to build the resilience, efficiency and competitiveness of the sector and to help farmers cope with market volatility in the longer term, so that our industry is better equipped to meet the challenges ahead and also to take advantage of the opportunities that will be available in the future.”