Amplify Mid and East Antrim

Agri-food Study and Action Plan

Barley growing in a field

Agri-food was identified as a key priority strategy within the Amplify Integrated Economic Development Strategy for the Mid and East Antrim area given the area’s thriving agri-food sector. 

In June 2019, an Agri-food Study and Action Plan for the Mid and East Antrim area was commissioned.

An extensive desktop research exercise and a range of consultations with private and public stakeholders in the agri-food sector were completed.

This process included primary and secondary research, an online assessment tool to allow direct input and feedback for companies, and a number of targeted workshops to discuss the trends and opportunities within the sector.

Subsequently, the agri-food study and action plan was produced for the Mid and East Antrim area. 

Key findings from the study and proposed actions are presented below and in the attached eBrochure

You can express your interest in the Agri-food Demonstrator Project or make comment on the Action Plan by emailing: before Friday 15 January 2021 at 4pm.

Agri-food Study Findings

A recent Agri-food study commissioned by Council identified the following:

187 registered food and drink
producers in the Borough
employing 2,383 staff and
contributing £449m in sales to the
local economy.
Of the 187 registered food and
drink production companies,
28% are baked goods, 19% are
retail meats and 12% are meat
1,797 farms registered in Mid and
East Antrim employing 3,619
people and generating £26m in
sales for the area.
Strong base of food production and
processing companies, including
expertise in poultry, meat, eggs and
Excellent farming and primary food
production heritage across the
Borough with 84% of farms in the
Borough involved in the raising of
animals for food production.
Self-assessment by consultees
highlighted that businesses in the
Borough were generally proficient in:
• Business Administration
• Sales Growth
• Reducing Waste
Respondents also noted that they had
limited capability in:
• Automation
• Data Capture & Analysis
• Understanding New Product Demand

Identified Opportunities

Following analysis of consultee responses and key stakeholder engagement, the following development opportunities emerged to support the agri-food sector:

changing market
demands for
higher profit
to address
productivity and
Develop skilled
resources which
are constraining
Invest in
lower carbon
Connect key

Key themes

Challenges exist in getting the right
resources and skills to support
agri-business growth plans.
Knowledge Gaps:
Particularly around agri-technology
and what potential impact it
could have across the sector on
productivity and in developing new
commercial offerings.
Planning for Uncertainty
and Brexit:

Businesses continue to seek clarity
on regulatory matters and feedback
reflected this as a key priority.
New agri-technology

Market Demands: Market awareness
and understanding market demands
identified as key themes throughout.

The Action Plan

It was recommended that four key areas be supported going forward:

Agri-food Skill Development:

Identification and development of agri-food specific skills for understanding market demand and utilising agri-technology.

Agri-food Network:

Building on the MEA Food and Drink Network, re-establishment of an agri-food sector network to provide opportunities for businesses to capture challenges and issues or identify collaborative opportunities.

Agri-food Entrepreneur Development:

A targeted agri-food start-up programme to provide support for innovative business ideas. Offering workshops, networking, mentoring and financial incentive to accelerate the development of an agri-business idea.

Agri-food Demonstrator Programme:

Provide financial support for deployment of a process, technology or scientific approach to demonstrate something of value to potential customers. 

Do you have any feedback on the study findings or the proposed action plan?

Are you interested in finding out more?

Contact us at:

Agri-food Demonstrator Project

Expression of Interest

Do you need advice
to progress your
project from an idea
to a prototype?
Do you
require financial
support to help
you develop a
new technique,
technology or a
Do you have an
innovative project
that you want to
market test?
Do you need
access to
knowledge and
industry experts
to demonstrate
your project

Submit your expression of interest now.

Simply email: with the following details:

  • Your name
  • Company name
  • Company SIC code
  • Project title
  • Project Description (500 words max)

Deadline for Expressions of Interest is: Friday 15 January 2021 at 4pm.

We continue to develop the three other programme areas and will be circulating details on how to get involved with these in the coming months.