West Tyrone MLA Declan Mc Aleer has called for dairy producers in the North to be treated on an equal basis as their counterparts in the South in relation to branding their products with the NDC label.
Mr. McAleer said,
“The National Diary Council (NDC) collects a levy from dairy farmers which is used to promote their produce. One of the means by which this is achieved is through the inclusion of a NDC label on products.
“However, one of the frustrating anomalies for companies in the North who operate across the island is that the NDC label cannot be affixed if processing happens in the north and this is having a detrimental impact on the industry.
“Dairy producers in the North have been unable to access contracts in the South due to being unable to have this label on their produce, indeed one company recently lost a major supermarket contract due to this anomaly.
“Such processors strongly feel that not being permitted to use the label inhibits their ability to trade across the island placing them at a serious disadvantage to other processors.
“I raised the matter with DETI Minister Arlene Foster in the Assembly and am calling on her to work with her Ministerial counterparts in Leinster House as well as the Agricultural Trust, the Irish Competition Authority, representatives from the food processing sector and the Irish Farmers' Association to extend the labeling scheme to the North.
“I am encouraged that the Minister has raised the matter on the fringe of a North-South Ministerial Council meeting and that she stated she would meet whoever she needed to meet to address the detrimental impact that the campaign is having on us. I am now calling for it to be put on the agenda of the next NSMC meeting.
“I have also written to the Chief Executive of InterTradeIreland to ask for their intervention and I have also discussed the subject with DARD Minister Michelle O Neill.
“It is crucial if dairy farmers in the North are to compete on an equal basis to their counterparts in the South that the branded scheme is extended across the island as soon as possible.”