Press Release

Concerned Committee Calls on Support for Farmers During Crisis

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Monday, 08 October 2012

Reference: AGR 01/12/13

Deeply concerned with the devastating effect the farming crisis is having on Northern Ireland, the Assembly’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee has called on the Minister for Agriculture to acknowledge the crisis and identify initiatives to help alleviate pressures on farmers as soon as possible.  The Committee made the call as part of its motion1 which was debated in the Assembly Chamber today (Monday 08 October 2012).

Committee Chair, Paul Frew MLA and Deputy Chairperson, Joe Byrne MLA, said: The current farming crisis, which is a result of rising production costs, as well as an increase in the cost of animal feed, has had a detrimental impact on the entire farming community across Northern Ireland.  Many of our local farmers are being paid less for their products than what they cost to produce, which is putting many of them under huge financial strain.”

Mr Frew concluded: “There are many issues accelerating this crisis which the Minister for Agriculture and her Department need to acknowledge and examine.  These include the lack of transparency in the supply chain, and the difference in prices of what the farmers receive between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.  More must be done to help our farmers receive a fairer price for their products, otherwise one of the most important industries in Northern Ireland could be in danger of collapse.” 

Notes to Editors:

1Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development – Motion

That this Assembly notes with concern the current crisis in farming caused by the failure of the food supply chain to react to rising production costs and feed prices in particular; further notes the lack of transparency within the food supply chain and the existence of a very significant differential between Northern, Great Britain and Republic of Ireland producer prices; and calls on the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development to acknowledge this crisis and to bring forward initiatives to alleviate the short term financial pressures on farmers.

Committee Membership:
Mr Paul Frew – Chairperson
Mr Joe Byrne – Deputy Chairperson
Mr Thomas Buchanan
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mrs Jo-Anne Dobson
Mr Chris Hazzard 
Mr William Irwin
Mr Declan McAleer
Mr Kieran McCarthy
Mr Oliver McMullan
Mr Robin Swann

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