Monday 19 November 2018 08:37:18 PM

Ministers Announce Launch of Small Business Research Initiative
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Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster MLA today announced the launch of an SBRI Competition designed to develop solutions to the issue of sustainable utilisation of poultry litter.

Minister O’Neill said: “Following publication of a DARD/AFBI technical review last April I, along with the DETI and DOE Ministers, agreed that officials should work to explore alternative solutions for the sustainable utilisation of poultry litter. This is vital to help meet the requirements of the EU Nitrates and Water Framework Directives and support the continued development of our agri-food industry.

“Having met with a range of stakeholders I believe there are potential options that should be tested. I am therefore pleased to announce the launch of this SBRI Competition which will encourage the development of these alternative technologies for the sustainable utilisation of poultry litter here.”

Minister Foster said: “We recognise the importance of using the buying power of the public sector as key driver of innovation within the economy. SBRI provides us with a proven method to achieve this.

“The broiler poultry sector in Northern Ireland is a significant part of the local economy, sustaining on-farm employment for over 1,400 people, with a further 4600 people employed in processing, and generating over 14% of the gross output of the local agriculture sector.

“The launch of this SBRI competition is therefore an important step forward in helping to address this major issue to ensure the sustainability of the local poultry sector and its future growth.”

Stephen Browning, Head of SBRI at the Technology Strategy Board, added: “It’s great to see Northern Ireland using SBRI as a mechanism for addressing this key challenge facing the region. We are committed to help the Northern Ireland public sector increase its use of SBRI competitions in order to stimulate innovation and improve services.”