Seven groups across Northern Ireland have been awarded £840,000 to work with farmers in developing practical solutions to address a particular problem or opportunity for the agri-food industry, Agriculture Minister Gordon Lyons MLA has announced.
Under the European Innovation Partnership scheme the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has awarded funding of up to £840,000 to seven Operational Groups.
The Groups bring together expertise from advisers, researchers and businesses to take forward project proposals which address a range of issues that farmers are currently facing. These include options for reducing carbon emissions, improving water quality, improving animal health and welfare and reducing the use of pesticides.
Announcing the funding award Minister Lyons said: “It is very encouraging to see farmers, advisers, researchers and industry representatives coming together to develop innovative solutions to real issues on the key themes of environmental sustainability, improving productivity and animal health and welfare. I look forward to seeing the benefits of this work rolled out to the wider agri-food industry over the next three years.”
Mark Horton MBE, Project Manager for the Water Innovation Network group, thanked DAERA for the support provided by the EIP Scheme. He said “We are delighted that we have been awarded European Innovation Partnership Funding to deliver a project that will develop and trial innovative ways for farmers to manage water across the farm, providing Win-Win solutions for both farm businesses and our freshwater environment.
“Using a combination of digital technologies and nature-based water managements systems, we will work with farmers in the Ballinderry River catchment, near Cookstown, to trial water management solutions that can make environmental protection less costly for our farmers, whilst protecting our precious rivers, loughs and the wildlife that depend on them.”
The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Scheme, is part of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme and is also part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The EIP scheme is being delivered by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural enterprise (CAFRE) and further details on the projects that are being supported are available on the CAFRE website at [www.cafre.ac.uk]www.cafre.ac.uk