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Northern Ireland signs for new animal info system



Agriculture department does £8.7 million deal with AMTSybex to replace animal and public health software

Northern Ireland’s Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has announced the award of an £8.7 million contract for the delivery of a new food, animal health and traceability system.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs said that 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 contract has been awarded to Belfast based software company AMTSybex, part of Capita, for an initial nine years with the option to extend for two further three-year periods. The company provided the predecessor system to the Northern Ireland Executive, and has also delivered the sheep, goat and deer recording and movement system to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

World class

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 underpinning 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.”

The implementation of the new system is scheduled to run from the autumn of 2017 through to the summer of 2019. Brian Mitchell, the supplier’s head of technical delivery, said it should be able to support any new business needs over a 9-15 year lifespan.


Image: Michelle McIlveen examines the NIFAIS system with James Bunch, solution architect at AMT-SYBEX.

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