Posted on Monday 16 September 2013 by Ulster Business

Appetite for Growth Launch

Invest NI's Executive Director of Business and Sector Development, Jeremy Fitch launches the conference with NIFDA Executive Director, Michael Bell.

Northern Ireland's food sector is to explore how it can increase turnover by 60 per cent to hit industry's target of achieving sales worth £7bn by 2020 at a major event next month.

The second Northern Ireland Food and Drink Conference (NIFDA), which is themed Appetite for Growth, will explore how Northern Ireland can make the most of its export growth potential to hit the industry targets..

Sponsored by Invest NI the conference will focus on how the recommendations in the Agri-Food Strategy Board's report can be translated into action.

The free-to-attend event is expected to attract over 150 delegates from both the business and agri-food sectors across Northern Ireland and will include interactive workshops alongside keynote speeches.

Speaking about the event, NIFDA Executive Director, Michael Bell said: "The Northern Ireland Food and Drink sector has continued to grow at a steady pace over recent years, and we believe there is potential to accelerate this growth and create a further 15,000 jobs in the process. If we are to succeed there must be increased focus on market-led innovation and sales growth outside Northern Ireland, especially to new markets in the USA, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, as well as a significant improvement in skills.

"The Agri Food Strategy Board's 'Going for Growth' report outlines seven main themes which will be explored fully at the conference, including how government and industry can best work together to deliver a world-class supply chain capable of exploiting global opportunities. We would urge local food and drink businesses who are focused on growth and expansion to attend and participate in this unique forum."

The event will be held in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick from 7.30am to 2.30pm on October 15. For more information and to register for the conference visit www.nifda.co.uk or email events@morrowcommunications.com.

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