Ministers Publish Executive Response to Going For Growth

The Executive agreed its response to Going for Growth on 26 June, where it was decided that the detail of the associated Action Plan should be refreshed prior to its publication. Today’s announcement is the publication of the Executive’s Response and the Action Plan.

In Going for Growth, the AFSB set the industry’s ambitious and challenging growth targets for the period to 2020 including the creation of 15,000 new jobs, an increase in value added to £1billion and growing sales by 60% to over £7billion.

The Board also made wide-ranging recommendations for actions by both Government and Industry in support of its strategic vision to ‘grow a sustainable, profitable and integrated Agri-food supply chain, focussed on delivering the needs of the market’.

In its response, the Executive commends the ambitions of Going for Growth and welcomes its Strategic Vision and growth targets. The Executive has also set out a detailed action plan which outlines how progress will be made on over 80 recommendations that the Board addressed to Government.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “As an Executive, we recognise the importance of the agri-food sector to our local economy and are committed to working with the sector to help it realise its ambitions. Whilst we currently face a very challenging fiscal environment, the Executive has agreed to give priority support to the sector where it can and, in particular, my Department is developing proposals for a Farm Business Improvement Scheme, as recommended by the AFSB, for delivery through the new Rural Development Programme, which will include a series of measures to support sustainable growth in the sector.”

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “The role of the agri-food industry cannot be understated in terms of its contribution to the local economy, and achieving the ambitions of the sector will require the Executive and Industry to work together in partnership. The Executive is committed to doing all that it can to support the sector, maximising its potential to our local economy, and we sincerely hope that everyone will play their part as we move forward into what we firmly believe will be an exciting future for the sector.”