Gildernew welcomes Red Meat Seminar
Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP,MLA has welcomed the Agriculture Committee's decision to host a seminar for the red meat sector.
Responding to the news that the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development plans to host a seminar at Parliament Buildings with the aim of improving the market position of the red meat sector, the Minister said:
"I welcome the Committee's involvement in this difficult issue. I have met with them on several occasions to discuss our approach and I would welcome their suggestions also on how we move forward collectively.
"Implementing the red meat strategy has major implications for the industry as a whole, requiring the main players to take on increasingly important roles for the industry. The Red Meat Task Force Report identified actions for each of the main players and DARD is actively playing its part in implementing the report's recommendations.
"I recently met with Commissioner Fischer Boel and took the opportunity to bring the findings of the Red meat Task Force report to her attention. I have also met with three of the major retailers, with plans to meet another very soon, and wrote to them about the issue of rising costs for producers. I have no direct influence over retail prices however I believe that lower prices for consumers should not mean lower prices for local producers."
Ms Gildernew outlined that her department is also leading two Task Force Working Groups to consider how to best target efforts to develop commercially viable models of beef production and also to scope practical options linked to broader social and environmental considerations, which might support suckler beef and hill sheep farmers.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Committee's seminar is planned for 13 March 2008.