Northern Ireland Assembly
Future Agricultural Policy must be Robust and Fit for Purpose, says Committee
The Assembly’s Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee recently (19 November 2020) received a Departmental briefing on future agricultural policy.
The recent update on how the Future Agricultural Policy Framework is progressing, followed a statement from the Minister on Tuesday 17 November, in which he outlined his vision for the policy and for future support payments.
Speaking after the meeting, the Committee Chairperson Declan McAleer, MLA recently said:
“The Committee very much welcomed today’s briefing and the statement from the Minister earlier this week. As we approach our exit from the EU and the uncertainties this brings, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure that any future agricultural policy here is robust and fit for purpose. It is vital that we get this right, as the decisions we make now will impact and shape how our farming sector operates and develops for a generation.
“The importance of the current basic payment scheme to our farmers cannot be overlooked; it underpins the very survival of many of our smaller farmers, particularly those who farm in less favoured areas. We are somewhat encouraged today, that the Minister and his Department have committed to doing all that they can to ensure the same level of financial support from the UK Treasury, at least for the lifetime of the current UK Government.”
Mr McAleer continued:
“We are also pleased to note that the framework places an emphasis on environmentally sustainable farming, as well as seeking to create and develop mechanisms to improve resilience within the industry. The Committee looks forward to seeing these plans and measures in greater detail and to having an input into how they are shaped and rolled out over the coming months and years.”
Mr McAleer concluded:
“It is crucial that we continue to recognise the importance of the farming sector to our local economy and that it remains a viable and attractive career option for our young people. The Minister has also pledged that no farm will be left behind and this is very welcome news upon which to build future policy decisions.
“We look forward to working with the Minister and his Department to ensure that any future agricultural policy not only protects and supports local farmers, but that it fully integrates workable initiatives to sustain and underpin growth and prosperity across the sector as a whole.”
Mr Declan McAleer MLA (Chairperson)
Mr Philip McGuigan MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Ms Clare Bailey MLA
Mrs Rosemary Barton MLA
Mr John Blair MLA
Mr Maurice Bradley MLA
Mr Patsy McGlone MLA
Mr Harry Harvey MLA
Mr William Irwin MLA
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Northern Ireland Assembly
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