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Time for industry to take lead in re-branding produce as Irish

13 September, 2007


Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson has said that it is time for the agri-food sector to recognise how damaging it is for local produce to be identified as British or 'UK' tagged.

Mr McHugh said:

"Sinn Féin have consistently argued that being linked to British farming policy has been bad for local farmers. Nowhere is this clearer than in how our produce is labeled, marketed and perceived abroad in our export markets.

"It is time for the agri-food sector to recognise how damaging it is for local produce to be identified as British or 'UK' tagged.

"I would also argue that a local 'NI' brand is simply not strong enough.

"The link with Britain in terms of how our produce is treated at EU level has already been broken. We now need to see the European Commission formalise this acceptance that the quality of our local produce can remain unaffected even when there is a disease threat in Britain.

"But I also think that it is time the industry took the bull by the horns and bought into the potential of marketing our local produce under the Brand Ireland logo.

"This is not political dogma. We need to take steps to maximize the potential for our local producers on the export markets. We need a strong, well recognised brand that is not tainted through connection with British or 'UK' produce and FMD or indeed a legacy of BSE." ENDS

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