Agriculture Minister must publish future agricultural policy proposals - McAleer
Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has urged the Agriculture Minister to publish his policy proposals so farmers can give their views on what these will mean for their businesses.
The West Tyrone MLA said:
“Back in August the Minister published an agricultural document outlining a vision for a new policy based around the broad themes of productivity, environmental sustainability, improved resilience and a responsive supply chain.
“While we are aware that a number of measures are proposed the minister needs to move swiftly to publish his proposals so that farmers can give their views on what these will mean for their businesses.
“The new policy was supposed to open for consultation in the Autumn, but it is now winter, and we have not seen it yet.
“I am also deeply concerned about how the new policy will be funded given that we have been taken out of the EU.
“The prospect of a separate, ring-fenced annual £300m single farm payment budget which the EU previously provided is highly unlikely to be replaced by Westminster.
“In addition to this, trade deals with Australia and New Zealand have the potential to fill the British market with cheap food, displacing our local produce off the supermarket shelves.
“I have met many farmers who have questions about the future of their entitlements, the shape of future farm support measures, and this uncertainty makes it incredibly difficult to plan ahead.
“The Minister needs to publish his proposals without any further delay.”