Corporate members update with Gordon Lyons MLA
As a valued category within the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) membership, corporate members of the UFU were recently invited to an exclusive ‘Minister’s update’ during Gordon Lyons MLA, time as Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Minister.
On the day, there was an opportunity to hear about DAERA’s current priorities and viewers could ask Mr Lyons questions before the session concluded with an update from UFU president Victor Chestnutt, on the work of the UFU.
Mr Lyons addressed the audience stating clearly that there were many challenges still to navigate, particularly in terms of the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol.
However this period of change also presented NI with many opportunities which he was keen to work together and capitalise on.
Mr Lyons highlighted that as an industry the agri-food sector contributes significantly to the NI economy feeding 10 percent of the UK population and that in NI, the agri-food sector accounts for 32 percent of its manufacturing base.
He further highlighted that NI export to 139 countries across the world, employ around 100,000 people in NI and produce high-quality products which are recognised across the globe.
He continued that as Minister, he wanted to take every opportunity to highlight and reinforce the importance and great work of the sector.
Also, that NI needed to continue to give consumers reasons to lift local products off the shelves whether that be in local shops or supermarkets at the other end of the world.
During the get-together, Mr Lyons also spoke about the NI Protocol & EU Exit, COVID-19, future agricultural support and the 2021 scheme year, the NI bovine TB programme, climate change, ammonia and rural policy framework and schemes for NI.
Mr Lyons finished by highlighting that DAERA has a diverse portfolio and there are significant challenges ahead, but that his DAERA officials were committed to delivering the best they could for the people they serve.
Any business wishing to find out more about UFU corporate membership can contact the UFU membership department on 02890370222.