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Local Agricultural Produce

Part of Agriculture and Rural Development – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 am on 12th November 2007.

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Photo of Michelle Gildernew Michelle Gildernew Sinn Féin 3:15 am, 12th November 2007

The RAFAEL project is funded by INTERREG III and is aimed at encouraging local authentic food producers to develop new markets. The main focus of our project, which was centred in the west, is to encourage and support local food producers and processors to develop and compete successfully for business in the public sector, particularly in hospitals and schools. Figures from Age Concern show that many people are suffering from malnutrition before they go into hospital, so it is important that the food that they receive in hospital is of the highest quality in order to help them through their convalescence. In that respect, the lack of food miles in those products — as well as the support that the RAFAEL project provided to the local food industry — is important, and I want it to be rolled out across the Six Counties.