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Research and technology vital to increasing competitiveness - Gildernew

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gilderew MP, MLA, has said that the agri-food industry can only achieve competitive advantage if ideas and concepts are translated into farming and industry practice.

The Minister was speaking to delegates at a seminar to mark the official opening of the refurbished courtyard offices and conference facilities at the AgriFood and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Hillsborough.

Michelle Gildernew said: “Research is a key driver of competitiveness and innovation but it can only add value if the knowledge and evidence it creates is shared and applied by businesses.

“The agri-food supply chain must be a collaborative and informed network if the key challenges facing the agri-food industry are to be overcome. We must ensure that information from DARD research and development flows into development and practice. Then in turn, the knowledge gained from practice must be used to inform the development of future research programmes.

“Local rural businesses must be able to harness the latest ideas, working methods and technologies if they are to achieve success in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

The Minister concluded: “The refurbishment projects on this site are an excellent example of knowledge exchange and the application of technological advances to achieve efficiencies through using renewable energy that is produced on site.”

The Minister also paid tribute to the excellence of the research undertaken at the Hillsborough site since the creation of the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland (ARINI) in 1927 and more latterly by AFBI.

Notes to Editors:

1. The re-opening of the facilities was marked by a seminar on the theme 'Communicating Research’. This provided a forum for researchers, advisers, policy-makers and industry representatives to discuss opportunities to improve the flow of research concepts and ideas into industry and business practice, and to re-new their commitment to work together.

2. The Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, commonly referred to as ARINI occupied the Hillsborough site from 1927 until it ceased to exist when it became part of the new Agri-Food and Bio-Sciences Institute (AFBI) on 1 April 2006.

3. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.