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de Brún Visits AFBI to Discuss CAP Emphasis on Research and Development"

18 October, 2011 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún visited the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) in Hillsborough for a discussion on their ongoing work and an information sharing session. Speaking from Hillsborough de Brún said, "I think today's visit was very useful for all concerned - AFBI's work in research and development is of vital importance to the Agri-food industry and indications are that the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will place a renewed emphasis on research and development . "Differing factors have meant that the agri-food has to find new solutions to a range of challenges, which is why we need bodies like AFBI now more than ever. The EU is placing a lot more emphasis on resource use efficiency and knowledge-based agriculture and AFBI is well placed to help the industry here in that respect. AFBI is making a valuable contribution to the knowledge base across Ireland , in Britain and further afield in the EU and the quality of data in some areas is second to none. “de Brun said. "Amongst the issues we discussed today were animal welfare, crop rotation and what the reformed CAP will mean for it, milk production, meeting the nitrates directive, renewable energy, livestock and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pig production, specifically in relation to the grain crisis and protein sources for animal feed. We also discussed the Executive’s emphasis on drawing down more EU funding for research and development. “It is great to see AFBI and farmers working together to find win-win solutions on using resources efficiently that can improve competitiveness and help the environment.  Their research on trying to tackle the issue of lameness in livestock is also hugely important". "I took the opportunity to again congratulate AFBI on their ongoing work, and I was particularly interested in the high levels of co-operation they have with similar institutes in the south of Ireland . I was delighted to be present at the National Ploughing Championships last month, when DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill MLA and her southern counterpart Minister Simon Coveney TD launched the first all-island animal disease surveillance report at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Kildare" said be Brun. "The report was produced jointly by staff from AFBI Veterinary Sciences Division and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (DAFF) Veterinary Laboratory Service, and the launch of the all-island animal disease surveillance report is in keeping with an all-island approach to animal health and welfare, and the free movement of animals.  Publication of the report coincided with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between AFBI and DAFF’s Backweston veterinary laboratory, which will facilitate enhanced co-operation in areas of mutual interest including scientific collaboration and bidding for international research funding". "Today's was a very worthwhile visit, it is important to keep the lines of communication open between the policy-makers at EU level , and the constituents implementing the legislation on the ground. "I and my office will continue to engage with all the agricultural and rural stakeholders throughout the process of CAP reform." CRIOCH   

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