The Dairy Council for Northern Ireland has been awarded two EU contracts for the support of exports in Third Country markets, and for the promotion of cheese in Northern Ireland. Each programme will run for three years and will have a combined value of just over €1 million, 50% of which will be funded by the EU.
This is the first EU contract for Third Country exports to be awarded to any organisation within the UK food sector. In this tranche of EU contracts, four have been awarded to UK food organisations, including the two awarded to DCNI.
Commenting on the programmes, Dr Mike Johnston, CEO of the Dairy Council, said,
“This is good news for the NI dairy industry. The decision last year not to renew our sponsorship of the Milk Cup was in line with our strategy of broadening our areas of activity, and released funds for these two programmes. The EU funding doubles the budgets available for each programme.”
Dr Johnston continued,
“The Third Country export programme will cover a range of products, including milk powders, butter, cheese and UHT products, and will target Middle East, China, Japan and South East Asia generally. The programme also includes plans for Russia, but they will be reviewed next year. As well as facilitating an EU presence at international trade fairs such as SIAL China, each year the programme will arrange for senior staff from at least 8 dairy importers from the targeted countries and regions to visit Northern Ireland. Each visit will last 3 days, and will allow buyers to see at first hand the high standards to which our dairy supply chain operates.”
In addition, the cheese programme will provide NI consumers with opportunities to sample cheese in–store, and to receive recipe leaflets which will reflect the European culture of using cheese. This is a multi–country programme covering France, Denmark, Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Pictured are Chairman of the Dairy Council for Northern Ireland, Harry O’Neill and Dr Mike Johnston, Chief Executive, at Belfast’s docks following the announcement.