Manx government scraps food and drink festival

The annual showcase of the Isle of Man's food and drink producers has been scrapped, the government has confirmed.

The Isle of Man Food and Drink Festival has attracted thousands of visitors to sample the local produce on offer for the past 15 years.

The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) said cancelling this year's event had been a "difficult decision", it would focus the budget on other promotional events.

A spokesman for the department said the money would be used to "drive new initiatives that will promote and support local producers in exciting new ways".

'Promote and support'

News of the cancellation was first shared on a Facebook page which promotes local produce, after several businesses were notified of the cancellation by the department.

Stuart Meade, who owns Red Mie Farm near Ballaugh, said the summer festival was "many producers biggest weekend of the year and a chance to directly chat to existing and potential customers, showcase your products and launch new lines".

Owner of Black Dog Oven in Peel Mike Wade said the festival had been important in allowing his family to take the business "from a hobby into a full, successful business".

While the DEFA did not give a direct reason for the cancellation, it said it was "collaborating closely with the Department for Enterprise to explore further opportunities for the year ahead".

In a statement the department said: "Whilst this news will disappoint some, we have decided to use the budget to drive new initiatives that will promote and support local producers in exciting new ways."

Those included increased presence at the Southern and Royal Manx Agricultural shows, an enhanced guide to showcase Manx produce and new events offering the "opportunity to showcase their products to on and off-island food buyers".

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