DUP MEP Diane Dodds has hailed last week’s Balmoral Show as a resounding success, saying that the overwhelming view of the public was the show is going from strength to strength at the new Balmoral Park.
Mrs Dodds said credit must go to the RUAS for making Balmoral Show what it is.
She added: “I spoke to many, many people over the course of the show that highlighted how the show had grown and that the layout was becoming more accommodating to people’s needs.
“The significant presence of food stalls has also been encouraging to the industry and a great showcase for all those not directly involved in primary agriculture.
“It is vitally important that we showcase the first class agri-food industry we have here in Northern Ireland and I firmly believe that is what we achieved last week. With the need to drive exports and finding new markets I hope the industry use Balmoral Show to its full potential.
“However we cannot ignore the wider problems being faced by the farming industry at present. We must recognise the pressure facing the industry across Northern Ireland with depressed farm gate prices across most sectors.
“Cash flow on many farms is now becoming an issue given the fall in farm gate prices against the fact that input prices have yet to realise their true market value.
“While many predict a bright future for the sector those involved are fast losing confidence in such an analysis. Of course this isn’t the first time the sector has faced such challenges but at a European level we must continue to look at how the supply chain functions, encouraging export to new and lucrative markets while reducing red tape and ensuring a sustainable productive and profitable primary producer.
“In the meantime our banks need to take a long term approach and allow farmers the flexibility to ride the storm. Volatility is becoming more and more apparent as we move into a more global market and we all need to look at what can be done to make agriculture a better place to be,” added Mrs Dodds.
“I want to thank all those who called into my stand over the last three days. It was great to get opinions from across Northern Ireland and I can now take forward the issues raised and continue to work hard for our industry.”