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Northern Ireland Balmoral show announces new investment

13th Feb 2009

Grass Roots: the Ulster Bank's head of business banking Henry Elvin with Tessa, a Hereford Heifer.

Northern Ireland's flagship agricultural event, the Balmoral Show, will take place this year from 13th-15th May. The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) organised event will be run in partnership with Ulster Bank.

Ulster Bank's Head of Business Banking in Northern Ireland, Henry Elvin, says that following the banks recent announcement of a 250 million fund to back local firms, its support for the show is a further indication of its continuing commitment to supporting the local economy.

He says: The agri sector is worth more than 200 million to the Northern Ireland economy each year and the Balmoral Show is the centre-piece in the industrys calendar.

Ongoing innovation is critical to ensure that this vitally important sector can continue to grow and can compete ever more successfully internationally. The Balmoral Show plays an important role in this regard: allowing producers to showcase their latest products, facilitating the sharing of best practice and promoting everything Northern Irelands agricultural industry has to offer. It is also an important community event which involves all kinds of people from right across Northern Ireland.

We are strongly committed to backing the agri sector and to providing it with our full expertise and support. Supporting the Balmoral Show is a strong indication of that commitment, Mr Elvin adds.

Colin McDonald, Chief Executive RUAS, commented; "This support is a tremendous help in the current economic climate. It aids our plans to broaden the promotion of agribusiness in the Province. We see this as a further investment by Ulster Bank in a key sector of the local economy which has the potential for growth despite the recession."

The farming sector experienced robust growth in 2008 with output rising by 13 per cent to 1.4bn over the year. (Source DARD*).

Commenting on the importance of the sector to the economy, Ulster Bank NI Economist, Richard Ramsey, says: "The agri-food industry is expected to be one of the more recession-proof sectors this year. Furthermore, Northern Ireland's agri-food industry is expected to be one of the main beneficiaries from the favourable sterling / euro exchange rate. Therefore, while most sectors of the economy will be expected to experience a marked decline in export growth this year, the prospects for agri exports are significantly brighter."

Ulster Farmers' Union President Graham Furey said; "The Balmoral Show is an annual highlight for thousands of farming families and members of the wider public. The Ulster Bank's support for the Show will help the event to go from strength to strength as a show piece for everything that is positive about farming and food in Northern Ireland".

Image:
Grass Roots: the Ulster Bank's head of business banking Henry Elvin with Tessa, a Hereford Heifer

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