£226k will see city team up with Romanian foodies to help us become food hub

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A Londonderry Council worker says £226,000 in newly-secured European Union funding that will see public servants and food sector specialists collaborate with their peers in Western Romania and other peripheral parts of the continent will help turn the city into a “real foodie hub.”

The funding is share of 1.7million euro secured as part of the NICHE project, which will explore the potential of technology to increase innovation in seven European regions where food is important for jobs and economic growth.

The project could include looking at the use of information technology to trace food from the farm to the restaurant table or smart phones to help manage quality.

Mary Blake, Tourism Development Officer in Derry City and Strabane District Council is managing the NICHE project locally and it is delighted that it has been successful in securing financial support from the European Union’s Interreg Europe cooperation programme, with a match from council.

“We are delighted to be part of the ERNACT network in this bid. This is a great opportunity to build upon international best practice and to reinforce our position as a real foodie hub. We have seen in recent years that food provenance and production heave really come to the fore. The NICHE project will help us to learn from peers in Europe facing similar challenges and opportunities around the food sector and its growth potential through a more intense introduction of innovation. We look forward to working with Food NI and the NW Regional College and industry partners to shape the regional operational programme.

The NICHE Project will build on NI’s regional priorities and strengths, through AGRI Food Technology. It will support the Agri Food agenda and will be developed in partnership to explore international best practice in Innovation, Research and Development in the Food Sector”.