LOCAL food was on the menu today at a Farmhouse Breakfast in the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise’s Greenmount Campus.
The agri-food industry sat down to breakfast together to support the Home Grown Cereals Association (HGCA) Breakfast Challenge which urges people to ‘Shake up your Wake up’ during Farmhouse Breakfast Week (January 20-26).
The breakfast is a collaborative venture supported by HGCA, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ulster Farmers’ Union and Food NI, with all of the ingredients provided by local suppliers. CAFRE students also provided floral and food displays celebrating the best of local ingredients.
Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill was on hand to show her support.
Speaking at the event the Minister said: “Farmhouse Breakfast Week has become an integral part of the agri-food calendar and I welcome the social networking dimension of this launch, bringing together key players in the industry as we look to the year ahead.
“We have become accustomed to top quality breakfast produce, whether that be the traditional morning breads such as soda, potato and wheaten, the porridge oats, or our meat, dairy and eggs, and it is pleasing to see that this quality is now being recognised further afield.
“By raising the profile of our local produce through projects and events such as this, we can send out a strong message to local consumers and on a global stage, that our local food is high quality, safe and wholesome.”
Commenting on the importance of the agriculture sector and looking to its future, Ms O’Neill added: “The food and drink sector is the largest manufacturing sector in the north of Ireland in terms of sales, exports and employment, and I believe that it has considerable potential to expand further, to service both local and global markets.
“The Agri-Food Strategy Board is due to report later this year with an industry-led action plan which will deliver growth for the sector. I am pleased that the Board has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and I await the report with interest.”