Northern Ireland: Creating a new future for farming

In Summary

• Like Kenya, Northern Ireland has a strong focus on agriculture and food security.

• Its industrial heritage is rooted firmly in farming and the region is now harnessing this longstanding knowledge and expertise.

A maize plantation.
A maize plantation.
Image: FILE

Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, ideally situated between mainland Europe and the US and home to two world-class universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

With a population of only 1.8 million people, Northern Ireland’s strong manufacturing and tech clusters are a testament to the importance of industry and academia collaborations as well as the resilience and innovative, forward-thinking nature of its people.

Like Kenya, Northern Ireland has a strong focus on agriculture and food security, its industrial heritage is rooted firmly in farming and the region is now harnessing this longstanding knowledge and expertise, particularly from its core agricultural strength in grass-based production, in leading-edge research and innovative engineering technology.

Organisations and businesses in Northern Ireland are delivering products and services internationally in the areas of farm machinery, animal health, R&D, animal nutrition and medical / food diagnostics.

Kenya continues to be a focus export market for companies in Northern Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland (INI), the economic development agency for Northern Ireland. INI is working to introduce innovative solutions and products from NI to this growing market.

There are a number of well-known Northern Irish companies currently exporting to Kenya including Randox Food Diagnostics, a specialist in food safety and Devenish Nutrition, an agritech company supplying animal nutrition. Companies from Northern Ireland are also investing in Kenya, Norbrook Laboratories Ltd has a successful production facility operating in Nairobi and is delivering pioneering results with its veterinary drugs and treatments.

Northern Ireland is also a recognised centre of engineering, it is home to one of the world’s most successful clusters of engineering companies and produces more than 40% of the world’s mobile crushing and screening equipment.

Northern Ireland also continues to have an international reputation in food safety thanks to pioneering research from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University Belfast. Major contributions to agri-research are being made by Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.

Both universities are acknowledged centres of research excellence in areas such as agriculture, veterinary, food sciences and biosciences. Meanwhile, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) is using scientific excellence to advance the agri-food sector, performing specialist R&D, statutory, analytical, and diagnostic testing.

With this rich and successful heritage in farming, engineering and academic research, Northern Ireland is ideally positioned to offer solutions to others seeking the expertise required to increase agricultural productivity.

Donmez is Invest Northern Ireland Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. [email protected]