O’Neill secures Hogan meeting

Commissioner Phil Hogan
Commissioner Phil Hogan

Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill will meet with EU Farm Commissioner Phil Hogan in Brussels on a day prior to the Dairy Crisis Summit, planned for Monday, September 7th.

Farming Life has been told the Minister will be accompanied by a small delegation, representing the interests of the farming and food industries.

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill

The meeting will be used to highlight the key challenges facing the agri sectors in Northern Ireland at the present time.

These include the impact of Russia’s ban on EU food imports, the recent strengthening of Sterling against the Euro and the weakening of the Chinese economy.

O’Neill will tell the Commissioner that Northern Ireland is more exposed than any other region of Europe to the impact of these developments.

While also pointing out that farmers have no control or influence over the geo-political decisions taken within the EU, she will also call for the introduction of significantly enhanced dairy intervention support measures.

It has also been confirmed that Minister O’Neill will push forward with the establishment of a Supply Chain Forum for the agri food industry.

The grouping will bring together primary producers, food processors and retailers with the aim of bringing much more clarity and openness to the entire operation of the agri food chain in Northern Ireland.

The Minister will also be actively involved in the work carried out by the new group.

The principles behind the envisaged supply chain forum were discussed in detail at the recent get-together involving Michelle O’Neill and DEFRA Secretary of State Liz Truss in London. The new grouping will act to identify the challenges that currently exist within the agri food supply chain and to deal with potential difficulties that are flagged up before they become contentious issues.