Latest Agri- food figures encouraging
Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Oliver McMullan has welcomed the recent figures on food processing industry, which have again shown a steady increase.
Mr McMullan said,
“While I acknowledge that the dairy, lamb and pork sectors are currently under stress, the recent figures released on the food processing industry are encouraging, indicating that the market difficulties can be overcome.
“The report highlighted that turnover increased by £262m with the number of people employed in the sector increasing to around 21,500 people as well as an increase in agency staff working on a seasonal basis.
“What is particularly pleasing that all sectors within the food processing industry are performing well and that exports are increasing in monetary terms.
“The increase in exports to new markets is welcoming while traditional markets also showed improved sales.
“The Minister Michelle O’Neill should be praised for developing this industry through negotiating the substantial new Rural Development Programme and her focus on opening up new markets in the likes of China, the Philippines, and the United States.
“As one of the biggest industries in the North it is important that we continue to support the Agri-food sector in order to similar gains in the year ahead and stability brought to the market in order to prevent the problems which the industry is currently facing. Central to this is ensuring that our farmers receive a fair and equitable return for their produce.”