NIIAS conference to debate how to close the consumer-producer divide

The growing gap between consumers and primary producers will take centre stage at the Northern Ireland Institute of Agricultural Science (NIIAS) annual conference next Thursday (February 15).

Representatives from across the agri-food industry are set to debate how to encourage understanding between the public and farmers.

Speaking ahead of the event, NIIAS chair Declan McDevitt said: “Many consumers think family farms are small and diversified businesses that produce food only for their local area.

“However, agriculture is now a highly technical, scientific and capital-intensive industry that requires farmers to be proficient in a wide variety of highly specialised areas.”


Speakers at the event include Kildare dairy farmer and Nuffield scholar Brian Rushe as well as Asda NI corporate affairs manager Joe McDonald.

The event has the theme ‘Advocating agriculture: Closing the consumer-producer divide’ and will take place in the Hilton Hotel Templepatrick on Thursday, February 15, from 6:30pm.

McDevitt said that the gap surrounding the “image and expectations” of food production systems is at the heart of the disconnect between producers and consumers.

“Although many consumers have a poor understanding of food production, many farmers are also disconnected from their marketplace,” he said.

“These issues will be discussed by speakers and delegates at the annual conference.”

A finger buffet will be served from 6:30pm, speakers will begin their presentations from 7:00pm and a question and answer session will follow.

The event is sponsored by sponsored by Asda and Devenish Nutrition and is open to NIIAS members and non-members. Registration cost is £20 for members, £25 for non-members and £10 for students.

Places should be booked before Monday, February 12, by contacting Eileen McCloskey by email on: [email protected], or by calling or texting: 07818060290.