Committee Takes Up Red Meat Cause

Session: 2007/2008

Date: 06 February 2008

Reference: AGR 12/07

The Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has agreed to host a seminar at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on 13 March 2008 with the aim of improving the market position of the Northern Ireland red meat sector.

The Committee Chairman, Dr William McCrea MP MLA, said:

“This Committee and the industry have continually sought action from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and her Department to do something about the terrible situation suckler and sheep farmers find themselves in. Unfortunately, these calls have not been answered.

“The Committee is providing the leadership that is lacking from the Department and is now calling on stakeholder groups, including the industry, processors, major retail organisations and the Department to attend the seminar if they are genuine in wanting to see the Northern Ireland industry climb out of this abyss and reclaim it’s rightful position as a world-leader in quality produce”.

Invitations to main stakeholder groups will be issued later in the week.

Responding to the Ministers press release on the Farm Nutrients Management Scheme, Dr McCrea added:

“The Committee has been urging the Minister and the Department to seek leave from Brussels for an additional extension to the closing date for this scheme but the Department refuses to even try.

“It is not surprising, therefore, that the Committee’s projection that the industry will not invest scarce resources to this scheme is now coming true.

“This is evident whenever the Department announces at Committee that nearly £14m has not been spent this year”.

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