A high level delegation from Nagaland in India has visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) at Hillsborough. The delegation was led by the Chief Minister and also included the Ministers of Agriculture, Finance and Power.
The Chief Minister’s primary reason for visiting Northern Ireland was to deliver a keynote lecture at Queen’s University on conflict since Nagaland can relate to the conflict issues that Northern Ireland has experienced. The Chief Minister also took the opportunity to learn about modern pig production methods in Northern Ireland as his government wishes to develop the pig industry in Nagaland.
Dr Seamus Kennedy (AFBI, CEO) welcomed the delegation after which Professor Bob Hanna described the structure of the pig industry in Northern Ireland and the importance of disease control. Dr Elizabeth Magowan introduced the visitors to the modern pig production methods used at AFBI Hillsborough. Mr Declan Armstrong guided the visitors around the 150 “birth to bacon” sow unit on AFBI’s Hillsborough site. Declan outlined the management practices and productivity of the AFBI Hillsborough herd and highlighted the various management systems that were common in Northern Ireland.
Dr Elizabeth Magowan highlighted some recent research which has improved production efficiency and reduced nitrogen excretion while Mr Peter Cotteny presented some of the findings from his PhD research project on gilt feeding management.
Mr Andrew McCrea, a DARD ‘pig’ focus farmer and Farmers’ Weekly UK Pig Farmer of 2010, who is based at Stewartstown, Co Tyrone, joined the visit in the afternoon to demonstrate his state of the art pig production unit. He also discussed some of the main challenges facing the Northern Ireland pig industry with the visitors. The Chief Minister expressed his thanks for the informative presentations.