New agriculture Minister must prioritise growth of agrifood sector: Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has urged newly appointed DAERA Minister Andrew Muir to ensure that the priority of his Department continues to be the ongoing growth of the Northern Ireland agrifood sector.
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The DUP representative said: “It is widely acknowledged within the farming and agrifood industry that the last local DAERA Minister, Edwin Poots, did a very good job of supporting our family farms, and indeed was a key driver for the ongoing growth of the local agrifood sector.

"We cannot let this focus slip, and I would urge the newly appointed Minister from the Alliance Party, Andrew Muir, to continue to offer the wide range of support, and also commitment, to our farming community.

"There has been a great deal of speculation that this appointment may lead to a more environmental focus, and whilst the environmental responsibilities of the Department are important, that balanced approach with our farming industry is vital. Farmers are committed to environmental protection, and the Minister will find a willing partner in our agriculture industry for fair and proportionate measures to safeguard our environment.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart. Pic: PressEyeUpper Bann MP Carla Lockhart. Pic: PressEye
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart. Pic: PressEye

"I wish the Minister well and look forward to engaging with him on these matters. I also urge him to act with haste to address the widespread community concerns around Lough Neagh. It is an important portfolio with a wide range of responsibilities and I trust the Minister will ensure the agenda is led by the ongoing importance of our agrifood sector to our wider Northern Ireland economy.”