Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has said that he is hopeful that the EU’s Agricultural Markets Task Force will come forward with proposals to strengthen the position of farmers and growers in the supply chain when it presents its report to EU Agricultural Commissioner, Phil Hogan next month.
Speaking at the annual Holstein NI dinner, which took place in Armagh last night (Friday), Mr Nicholson also reiterated his call for Prime Minister Theresa May to pursue a Brexit deal that works for strategic industries such as agri-food plus emphasised the need for the agricultural industry to be fully involved in developing future policy.
Commenting the Ulster Unionist representative said: “The Agricultural Markets Task Force reports back to Commissioner Hogan next month. I certainly hope it will include recommendations that seek to address the dominance of the large supermarkets within the food supply chain as I believe this issue has been the ‘elephant in the room’ for far too long.”
During his comments to the Holstein NI members Mr Nicholson also reiterated his call for a Brexit deal that works for agriculture plus said that the agricultural industry must be fully and proactively involved in developing the UK’s policies outside the EU, particularly in relation to trade and agricultural support, saying: “In terms of future UK/EU relations there has been much speculation about whether we are on course for a hard or a soft Brexit and what the UK Government’s priorities will be during negotiations.
“Indeed the Labour Party has raised concerns that Tory MPs are pressing for what they have termed a ‘Bankers’ Brexit’. There is no doubting that the financial services sector is a major aspect of the UK’s economy.
“I do however feel that the Prime Minister must pursue a Brexit deal that works for everyone. By that I mean a Brexit that recognises the needs of all parts of the UK and key, strategic industries – especially agri-food.
“Nobody likes uncertainty and the shape of future agri-policy and support is a significant unknown at this stage. It is therefore important that the agricultural industry as a whole and dairy sector in particular is actively involved in negotiations on shaping future policy. This is crucial to ensure that a new policy framework is in place from the beginning that equips the industry to both overcome challenges and make the most of future opportunities.”