Members of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) and Farmers For Action (FFA) have continued to meet local parties to press them on their election priorities.
Recent meetings have taken place with the Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Fein.
Michael Clarke, Chairman of NIAPA stated: “The meeting with the UUP included their Policy Officer along with Robin Swann, who is well known in the farming community, Robin is no stranger to all things agriculture and the financial dire straits that many farming families find themselves in today. The UUP line indicated by Robin would be fairly supportive of the proposal for legislation on farm gate prices to be considered seriously after the election in that they accept that there is nothing else on the table currently and that time is running out within the farming community thus requiring urgent action across the staples.”
According to the Gosling Report legislation on farm gate prices would return a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked across the staples thus providing farming families with a safety net, then to provide Northern Ireland with 20,000 plus new jobs in towns, cities and countryside alike, £280million minimum in welfare money would be saved and prosperity would begin.
Speaking after the meeting with Sinn Fein William Taylor, FFA stated: ”Sinn Fein including Minister O’Neill have been good listeners on this issue for the last two years as it has evolved. Up to now they have had plenty of questions, all of which to date have now been answered. It would appear from their interest that they are very supportive of the idea providing they can convince themselves internally that it would work. NI Farm Groups have always argued it would and now have the Gosling Report to back it up and they have established it is a devolved matter and further investigations have indicated that it is legal all the way to Brussels.”