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Future Agricultural Policy must be Robust and Fit for Purpose, says Committee

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 19 November 2020

Reference: 02/20/21

The Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee received a Departmental briefing today on future agricultural policy here.

Today’s update on how the Future Agricultural Policy Framework is progressing, followed a statement from the Minister on Tuesday 17 November, in which he outlined his vision for the policy and for future support payments.

Speaking after today’s meeting, the Committee Chairperson Declan McAleer, MLA said: “The Committee very much welcomed today’s briefing and the statement from the Minister earlier this week. As we approach our exit from the EU and the uncertainties this brings, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that any future agricultural policy here is robust and fit for purpose. It is vital that we get this right, as the decisions we make now will impact and shape how our farming sector operates and develops for a generation.

“The importance of the current basic payment scheme to our farmers cannot be overlooked; it underpins the very survival of many of our smaller farmers, particularly those who farm in less favoured areas. We are somewhat encouraged today, that the Minister and his Department have committed to doing all that they can to ensure the same level of financial support from the UK Treasury, at least for the lifetime of the current UK Government.”

Mr McAleer continued: “We are also pleased to note that the framework places an emphasis on environmentally sustainable farming, as well as seeking to create and develop mechanisms to improve resilience within the industry. The Committee looks forward to seeing these plans and measures in greater detail and to having an input into how they are shaped and rolled out over the coming months and years.” 

Mr McAleer concluded: “It is crucial that we continue to recognise the importance of the farming sector to our local economy and that it remains a viable and attractive career option for our young people. The Minister has also pledged that no farm will be left behind and this is very welcome news upon which to build future policy decisions.

“We look forward to working with the Minister and his Department to ensure that any future agricultural policy not only protects and supports local farmers, but that it fully integrates workable initiatives to sustain and underpin growth and prosperity across the sector as a whole.”

ENDS

 

Committee Membership

Mr Declan McAleer MLA (Chairperson)

Mr Philip McGuigan MLA (Deputy Chairperson)

Ms Clare Bailey MLA

Mrs Rosemary Barton MLA

Mr John Blair MLA

Mr Maurice Bradley MLA

Mr Patsy McGlone MLA

Mr Harry Harvey MLA

Mr William Irwin MLA

 

For media enquiries, please contact:

Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Tel: 029 90 52 5938
Mob:  07899 864368
Email: Sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk 

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