Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced the award of an £8.7 million contract for the delivery of a new state of the art food, animal health and traceability system for Northern Ireland.
NIFAIS (the Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System) will be an improved replacement for the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), which has been in operation since November 1998.
The £8.7 million contract has been awarded to AMT-SYBEX for an initial nine year period. AMT-SYBEX is a software and services company based in Belfast and part of Capita PLC.
Welcoming the award of the contract to AMT-SYBEX, Minister Michelle McIlveen said: “The award of the NIFAIS contract represents a significant investment in the infrastructure of the local agri-food industry. The commitment of £8.7 million of capital and resources, over an initial nine year period, reflects the department’s commitment to build on the success of APHIS as a world-class traceability system.
“NIFAIS will improve on this support, contributing to the competitiveness of our livestock industry, which is one of the key elements of the draft Programme for Government. The animal data that NIFAIS will process is an essential under-pinning of our animal disease control programmes, and an important enabler for improvements in our animal health, welfare and genetic potential into the future.
“NIFAIS traceability is also fundamental to the delivery of our Going for Growth strategy, assuring consumer confidence in local markets, and assisting with access into demanding export markets for our animals and produce well into the future.”
Brian Mitchell, Head of Technical Delivery at AMT-SYBEX, commented: “We’re delighted to have been selected to deliver NIFAIS in partnership with DAERA, and look forward to providing a functionally rich and highly configurable system which will support DAERA’s business through the next 15 years and beyond.
“NIFAIS will provide all the functions and business support of the existing APHIS system, on an updated technological platform, and is expected to come into service on a staged basis from the Autumn of 2017 through to the summer of 2019. The new system will then be able to support whatever new and further business needs may arise thereafter, over its anticipated nine to fifteen year life-span.”