An independent review into the future of the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland is to be led by Sir Peter Kendall, the former president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

The appointment was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Dianne Dodds on Friday.

In February, the Irish Farmers Journal revealed that a review into the need for a capital grant scheme for food processing businesses in NI was to be conducted.

Other issues

The new independent strategic review of the NI agri-food sector (ISRAF) will also look other issues facing the sector, such as economic and environmental sustainability, access to migrant labour, market opportunities and the case for regional branding.

Kendall is an arable and poultry farmer from Bedfordshire and is a former chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

His team is made up of Dr Jonathan Birnie of NI-based Birnie Consultancy, Dr Clive Black from Shore Capital Markets and agricultural law expert Julie Robinson.

“As a result of our new trading arrangements, COVID and climate change, we are operating in a very different landscape which we must navigate if we are to successfully tackle the challenges each presents,” said Minister Poots.

“We must also unlock the new opportunities ahead to build a thriving, more sustainable, resilient and profitable agri-food sector,” he added.