Organic NI, a recently formed umbrella body for the organic sector in Northern Ireland, has secured a three year sponsorship from Danske Bank.
The deal involves an element of funding, however the body’s Chairman John Carson, says the partnership is about much more than that:
“Over the last few months we have been developing plans to develop organic food production, processing and consumption in Northern Ireland. We are here to support all organic farmers, raising the profile of the sector and lobbying on their behalf to get the best from government, DAERA and CAFRE.
“There has been an increase in demand for organic food as the economy has recovered and the price of organic food has fallen. A growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of organic food and the environmental benefits of organic farming, has also helped to drive awareness levels and demand.
“Developing a relationship with a company like Danske Bank is a really important part of this. It’s about tapping into their agri-food management expertise, sharing information and looking for new ideas. I’m looking forward to working with the bank to help raise the profile of the sector in the coming months and years.”
Robert McCullough, Head of Agribusiness at Danske Bank, added: “We are proud to be able to support Organic NI and add this partnership to our portfolio of industry sponsorships which spans right across the agri- food sector.
“The organic subsector is a niche sector that sits right at the heart of everything that’s good about NI produce, particularly in the Year of Food and Drink.
“There has been a reduction in organically farmed soils across the British Isles over the last few years and yet sales of organic product were up almost 5% according to a recent report. This would indicate that there is potential in a premium market that a small but focused group of producers can exploit. With some of our sectors suffering price erosion through over-supply then consideration of organic farming whilst not suitable for some could be on the agenda for others.”
Anyone interested in becoming a member of Organic NI should contact Membership Secretary Maurice Patton on 07803 127377.