The outlook and potential for agri-food in Northern Ireland was the key theme of the Ulster Bank Balmoral Show lunch held this afternoon at the Show's new venue, Balmoral Park.
Speaking at the Ulster Bank lunch in the main marquee, Head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, Ellvena Graham says "Agri-food is a vital and growing part of the Northern Ireland economy, sustaining up to 92,000 people in employment, according to the NI Food and Drink Association, and it has the potential to add more jobs and more value due to opportunities arising from the UK’s food deficit and growing global demand for food.”
She points out: “In Ulster Bank we acknowledge that we have an important part to play in supporting the growth and development of the Northern Ireland economy, and we are particularly encouraged by the continued potential in the agri-food industry.
“We also welcome the work of the Agri-Food Strategy Board and the publication of its report this morning, and we look forward to its implementation over the next few years, as it has the potential to play an extremely positive role.
Ms Graham was addressing an audience of more than 100 senior representatives drawn from business, political and media circles. The speakers at the event also included Owen Brennan, Chief Executive and Executive Chairman of international business Devenish Nutrition.
Ellvena Graham was appointed to the new position of Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland in March. Reporting to the Chief Executive, Jim Brown, Ms Graham is responsible for the leadership of Ulster Bank Group within Northern Ireland, representing the Bank with all key stakeholders including Government, industry bodies and consumer groups.
Owen Brennan is Chief Executive and Executive Chairman of Devenish Nutrition, an agri-technology company which has grown from a small local supplier to an international business and technology driven, research-focussed organisation. Owen is a member of the Agri-Food Strategy Board.
Ulster Bank is the principal sponsor of the Balmoral Show, Northern Ireland’s largest agri-food event.
Since September 2012, Ulster Bank has lent more than £75 million through the HMT / Bank of England Funding for Lending Scheme, with a significant proportion of the 400 firms to receive funding to date being agri-food businesses.