UK Agriculture Minister Michael Gove MP believes that Brexit will not bring about the creation of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Speaking at last yesterday’s Antrim Show he said that there are tremendous advantages associated with the retention of a fully integrated farming and food sector throughout Ireland, adding:“What’s required is a degree of good will on the part of all those involved in the upcoming Brexit negotiations.
“My priority is to ensure as smooth a transition process for agriculture in Northern Ireland, where Brexit is concerned.
“A pragmatic approach will be required to reach a final settlement.
“However, the British government fully recognises the importance of the long established trading arrangements that are a feature of the farming and food sectors on the island of Ireland. These must be retained.”
Commenting on his policy priorities for agriculture, he said that the industry must be allowed to “grow more, produce more and market its output more effectively.”
Gove added: “Farmers must be supported to help maintain and improve the environment. I also want to see better use made of new technologies that will increase agricultural output and enhance biosecurity. There is also a requirement to improve plant and animal health standards.”
Gove also foresees new export opportunities developing for Northern Ireland agri food in the post-Brexit era.
“Finding new markets is a priority,” he said.
“The UK’s farming and food sectors will be placed in a position where they can sell more to countries around the world.
“We also need an immigration policy that allows UK companies to secure the migrant labour pool they require, when they need it.
“But this can only be done in ways that fully respect the result of the Brexit Referendum.”