A new consultation seeks views to create a ‘profitable, productive, environmentally sustainable and resilient’ agri-food sector in Northern Ireland.
The consultation seeks the views of stakeholders on the policy proposals being developed to achieve the four key outcomes of the Future Agricultural Policy Framework Portfolio: increased productivity, improved resilience, environmental sustainability and a responsive supply chain.
Speaking about the consultation the Minister said: “In August this year, I launched the Future Agricultural Policy Framework Portfolio and at that time I indicated that a public consultation on the more detailed policy proposals being developed would follow.
“This is the first time in almost 50 years that we have a unique opportunity to redefine our agricultural policy and target support to meet our local priorities and needs much more effectively.
“Achieving this vision will take a collaborative effort with industry and stakeholders in the co-development and design of new measures and interventions, using evidence to inform policy decisions, encouraging uptake of innovation, science and technology, encouraging knowledge and education exchange and ensuring these policies are supported by an appropriate level of regulation.
“My ultimate aim is to ensure that Northern Ireland takes full advantage of the opportunity to develop a sustainable agricultural industry in which all farmers are supported on an equitable basis to make best use of the assets at their disposal, and to invest in all forms of capital.
“As we build out this future portfolio, I want to ensure that farmers are supported and equipped with the right tools to continue producing high quality, nutritious food whilst importantly, also reducing their environmental impact.
“Going forward I want to devise support schemes that provide opportunities for all of Northern Ireland’s farmers.
“Schemes and support are needed to help farmers develop their businesses, no matter where they farm, to become more efficient and to maximise the sustainable returns they can achieve from the assets at their disposal.
“With appropriately designed policy interventions and innovation, all of this can be achieved without compromising the economic viability of the sector. If we get it right, the benefits to our rural economy can be substantial.
“I would encourage all stakeholders with an interest in food production and land use to respond so that together we can take full advantage of this unique opportunity to develop a future sustainable agricultural industry.
“I look forward to engaging with all those in the farming industry as we move forward with my vision for the future.”
More information about this consultation and how to take part is available on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (Daera)-website.