Irwin expresses concern on food supply security

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has spoken of his concern after the United Nations warned of a potential global food supply crisis due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Mr Irwin said the fact that 20 million tonnes of grain remain stuck in Ukraine from the previous harvest will have concerning impacts in the months ahead.

Mr Irwin said: “This is no surprise to anyone and of course we can all see the problems this war is creating, not only for those innocent people caught up in Putin’s war on Ukraine but it is also having a significant impact on markets across the globe and this is clearly evident in food supply and food prices.”

He added: “As farmers we know exactly the pressure that is now being exerted on the industry with feed prices through the roof and of course energy prices really tightening their grip on farm businesses across the Province and across the United Kingdom.

“This in my opinion, really focuses the mind on food supply security and it is high time domestically that we look at ways in which we can be even more self-sufficient in our food supply and lessen our reliance on imports.

“Our agri-food sector really is one of the most important sectors to our economy and indeed our wellbeing as a nation.

“The Government must do more to bolster our industry and shield it to a greater degree from global impacts.”

He continued: “The United Nations have issued a warning which should serve as a reminder of the need to act. However, it has also proved that food supply and security of supply is a huge issue that should be right at the top of the agenda.”

He concluded: “It is only a few short months ago that all Northern Ireland Executive Parties, with of course the exception of the DUP, were careering down a pathway to cut our food production capacity in half as part of the Green Party climate change bill.

“How foolish such a pathway would be when all the alarms are sounding loudly and indeed this week the World Bank has announced extra funding worth £9.7bn for projects addressing the very issue of food insecurity.”