Lockhart urges Government to address egg industry concerns
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A derogation impacting upon egg production is due to expire at the end of this month.
The DUP EFRA spokesperson said: “The EU last year required member states to define “young birds” that would be permitted 95% organic diets. Any birds over the defined age must be fed 100% organic feed.
"Due to the Protocol, a derogation was put in place for the local industry, but this is due to expire on 24 February, and the industry have been told it is unlikely to be renewed.
"This poses an existential threat to some local producers.
“To meet the EU requirements of 100% organic will substantially increase cost and reduce quality that will likely make Northern Ireland based organic egg production sold into GB uncompetitive and thus very damaging to the prospects of organic egg production in Northern Ireland,” added Mrs Lockhart.
“Our industry is in solution mode, but we need the Government to work alongside the industry to put certainty in place soon to ensure the future viability of the sector.
"Focus on the GB market is the direction of travel, but to ensure this is possible we need the Government to get on board.
“I have written to the DEFRA Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Cabinet Office to stress the imminent danger to local producers, and the need for immediate action.
"The 24th February is fast approaching, and we need solutions in place.”
In recent days there have been reports and further speculation that negotiations over the Northern Ireland protocol are in the crucial final phase with a deal possible as early as next week.