Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Agri-food sector excelling on international stage

The Sweden, Norway and Denmark markets have a combined worth of £84bn
The Sweden, Norway and Denmark markets have a combined worth of £84bn

Today brings a focus on the continued importance of the agri-food industry to the Northern Ireland economy, as farmers across the province ready themselves for the Balmoral Show in a few weeks' time.

But it's not just to feed ourselves that we need to focus on agri-food.

Exports are a hugely important aspect of farming – and there are plenty of success stories, such as Dale Farm and its Dromona range of cheeses.

The cheeses are winging their way to Spain after Dromona took part in a tasting event in Barcelona A concerted push is also taking place to bring the delights of Northern Ireland's pantries further afield – this time to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, markets with a combined worth of £84bn.

James Joseph Carroll, the Irish ambassador to Sweden, yesterday hosted a reception celebrating produce from Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic. Mr Carroll said there was much which Swedish, Irish and Scottish palates had in common. "Swedes, Irish and Scots generally appreciate similar things, not least the best of food and drink."

The companies taking part from this part of the world were coconut water firm CocoMojo, bun business Kitchen Bakes, brewery Clanconnel and Art, Bangor, a restaurant which also makes preserves and crackers.

The most common Nordic export we hear of these days is TV, with dramas like Borgen, The Killing and The Bridge filling up our schedules. So the idea that we are wooing the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians with our food and drink in return seems like a fair deal.

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