The Executive is calling on small businesses to come up with alternative solutions for using poultry litter.
Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster have launched a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition designed to find another way to deal with poultry production by-product.
Minister O'Neill said the sustainable utilisation of poultry litter 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.
Minister O'Neill added: "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 Stormont recognised the importance of using the buying power of the public sector as a key driver of innovation within the economy and SBRI provides a proven method to achieve this.
She added: "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 growth."