Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough (ABC) Council has the fourth largest agriculture sector in Northern Ireland (NI) accounting for 13% of NI, with 3,431 farms contributing approximately £376 million in goods value and farm support payments into the local economy, providing employment in the agriculture sector and to 265 local agribusinesses which the industry supports. The council already operates strong facilities and initiatives such as Food Heartland, Tannaghmore Rare Breeds Animal Farm and Farm Watch Scheme.
Designed to be in line with the findings of the Independent Strategic Review of the Northern Ireland Agri-Food Sector (ISRAF), the Green Growth Strategy and to work alongside the Mid South West (MSW) Regional Economic Strategy amongst others, it is the objective of this strategy to provide practical recommendations to enable the council to best support agriculture, agri-food and agri tech, helping to develop long term viability in the sector.
Emerging from exploring the key themes outlined in the main document, and following engagement with council departments, key stakeholders, farmers and businesses, ten practical and achievable recommendations have been identified;
- Expand and evolve Food Heartland
- Develop a method of communicating regularly and clearly with all agriculture and agribusinesses in the borough
- Develop a plan to facilitate skills development in agriculture and agribusinesses
- Appoint ’Agriculture Champions’ for the borough
- Develop an ’Agriculture Centre’ for advice, training, demonstrations, and research
- Facilitate structural upgrading
- ABC rural strategy
- Further studies in sectors related to the agriculture industry
- Agri-food development
- Promote the health and wellbeing of farmers and rural dwellers
Communication will play a large role in the effective delivery of this strategy. If you would like to get involved in the development of the action plan and implementation, please complete the agri engagement form.