The Native Tree Group - A first for the Supply Chain Development Programme

23rd October 2012

The ‘Native Tree Group’ is a company with a difference that has been established to provide forestry companies, landscape architects, local councils and all other landowners – including farmers -with a unique opportunity to source young, native trees with a fully traceable provenance.

The business, which is located on the outskirts of Ballynahinch in Co Down, is the brainchild of Terence Metcalfe and Barrie Elkin. Both are tree growers with a combined experience of thirty years in this fast growing sector. Adding to the distinctiveness of the new company is the fact that all the trees are grown from seed in ‘Air Pots’ to allow the formation of a dense rooting system.

“We collect all the seed ourselves and can take customers to the exact trees from which each batch has been sourced,” Terence explained.

“Our native philosophy is borne from our passion about nature and supporting the development of planting schemes, using trees that have been grown locally.

Commenting on the ‘Air Pot’ system, Barrie Elkin said:
“It encourages a dense root system through the natural process of air pruning. The technology also helps trees and shrubs to establish quickly once they have been transplanted out, without suffering growth setbacks.” 

What also makes the Native Tree Group unique is the fact that it is the first new business project in the current programme, and they have utilised the full package of support measures available through the Supply Chain Development Programme.

Funded through Axis 1 of the current Rural Development Programme, this unique new business support measure aims to improve co-operation and collaboration in the agri-food and forestry sectors leading to more effective and sustainable supply chains.

The support on-offer will facilitate co-operation and collaboration in supply chains between producers, processors and others. In addition, it will allow the development of ideas and initiatives that improve the effectiveness and sustainability of supply chains while, at the same time, encouraging the development of new supply chain relationships.
Programme Manager Alan Montgomery, based at Countryside Services in Dungannon, takes up the story.
“Over the past two years Terence and Barrie, as the very first supply chain group, have received funding to facilitate the development of every key aspect relating to the new business, from production through to branding.
“They also received support to undertake a study tour to Oregon and to develop the right business and marketing plans for the new company. This work has also entailed one-to-one access to specifically appointed business and marketing consultants throughout the two year period.

“I am delighted is that all of the work and effort put in by everyone concerned is now paying a handsome dividend. The launch of ‘The Native Tree Group’ represents a landmark event for Barrie and Terence. However, it also represents a good news story for the fast growing forestry and conservation sectors throughout the island of Ireland of Ireland.”

Alan concluded:

“Funding for the Supply Chain Development programme is available right through until the end of 2014. This means there is still an opportunity for those with new business ideas with the agri food and forestry sectors, to secure the full package of support measures, provided they apply before the end of this year.”

For further information on the Supply Chain Development Programme, contact Paddy McConville on (028) 87789136