Government must enable agri-food industry to reach next level - Lockhart

DUP MP Carla Lockhart has called for the Government to work with the Northern Ireland Executive to provide financial support for local farmers and agri-food production to meet growing demand for local produce, as well as maximise the opportunities for the local agri-food industry arising from Brexit.

Carla Lockhart said: “Our agri-food sector is the backbone of our local economy. With around 30,000 people employed in the industry, it is vital to the economic wellbeing of local families and of Northern Ireland as a whole.

“While specific challenges have arisen at the end of the transition period, and I am working with the Government to address these as a matter of utmost priority, we must not lose sight of the potential for growth for our local farming and agri-food industry.

“To maximise these opportunities, both within the local market and the export market, we need to see investment driven by Government into food production, research and development, processing and marketing.

“This should be a significant funding intervention that makes a real difference in taking the industry to the next level. That is the only way we can truly take advantage of the opportunities that are open to us now outside of the EU.

“I am pressing the Government to set out its vision and commitment to our farmers and agri-food industry.

“Working alongside my colleague, the DAERA Minister Edwin Poots MLA, we are pressuring DEFRA to step up with Treasury support to act boldly and with vision. Our industry is up for the challenge, and that desire and commitment must be matched by Government.”