The Dairy Council for Northern Ireland has announced it has secured European funding which will allow it to undertake export support and sustainability programmes with a value of €3,373,000 both at home and abroad over the next three years.
Funding for two of the programmes will be to support the promotion of dairy product exports to countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, while funding for the third programme is for a joint programme that will run through the European Milk Forum to promote the dairy industry’s sustainability.
Dr Mike Johnston, Chief Executive of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, explained the detail around the funding: “Based on the success of the Dairy Council’s current Third Country Export Programme, we applied for further funding to continue our work in supporting dairy product exports in two key regions. Approval of €1,117, 325 has been given for work in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia and UAE while €1,953,127 has been allocated to work over three years in seven countries in Southeast Asia.
“Additionally, €303.3k of funding has been approved by the European Milk Forum to fund a three year sustainability programme.
“As with the export programmes where 80% will be provided by the EU and the remaining 20% supplied by DCNI, so too will the sustainability programme receive 80% of funding from the European Milk Forum with the remainder being made up by ourselves.”
The export programmes will build on the work done to date with inward missions allowing dairy companies to meet buyers in their own countries, the programme will also facilitate participation by dairy companies in Gulfood and SIAL China, two of the main international trade fairs in these areas,
The sustainability programme, which is a joint programme involving NI, ROI, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark, will have a number of elements including the production of an annual Fact Book, annual research to monitor public attitudes, an annual symposium, farm visits and social media engagement to demonstrate how farmers manage and look after the environment.
“We have had great success to date with the export programme that has run over the last three years. Indeed, we have been able to demonstrate export sales of Northern Ireland dairy products of almost £7m as a direct result of the programme. We are delighted, therefore to be in a position to continue with this work. With projections suggesting that global demand for dairy products will continue to grow this funding will help to develop the work we have already undertaken and allow us to reach out further to developing markets in Southeast Asia.
“Just as the current export programme was the first across all agri-food sectors in UK to get funding, these two export programmes were the only UK applications to be approved, so that is very gratifying for our producers and processors as it is indicative of European confidence in our success to date,” Dr Johnston concluded.