‘Show success despite market uncertainty’

First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show with Diane Dodds. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye.
First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the Balmoral Show with Diane Dodds. Picture by Jonathan Porter/Press Eye.

DUP MEP Diane Dodds has hailed last week’s Balmoral Show as a resounding success, pointing to the overwhelming view of the public that the event is going from strength to strength at the new Balmoral Park.

Commenting, Mrs Dodds said: “The show over the three days last week was a great success and credit must go to the RUAS for making Balmoral Show what it is today. I spoke to many, many people over the course of the event who highlighted how the Show had grown and that the layout was becoming more accommodating to people’s needs.

“It is vitally important that we showcase the first class agri-food industry we have here in Northern Ireland and I firmly believe that is what we achieved last week. With the need to drive exports and find new markets, I believe the industry is using the Balmoral Show to achieve progress and we are beginning to see some of these benefits already. However we cannot ignore the wider problems being faced by the farming industry at present.

“We must recognise the pressure facing the industry across Northern Ireland with depressed farm gate prices across most sectors. Cash flow on many farms is a real issue and I will continue to work with the banking sector and the Commissioner to take much-needed action to lessen the impact of market volatility.

“A key topic of conversation over the past number of months - and without doubt the focus at the Show - was the UK referendum on Europe. I must say the overall feeling that I and my party colleagues received was very much in favour of Brexit. Farmers feel strangled by the EU and frustrated by the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP). Over the course of the show the general consensus was that Europe has created an agriculture industry which is dysfunctional and inadequately supported especially in times of crisis.

“The criticism of Phil Hogan, the way in which Europe has failed to grasp the need to tackle the supply chain, and the lack of action to resolve the crisis facing in particular the pork and dairy markets, has motivated farmers to support Brexit. Only this week we have further delays in the reauthorisation of glyphosate which is Europe’s most widely used herbicide. Europe is stifling agriculture and the much-needed innovation which the agriculture industry is crying out for to remain competitive in a global market.”

Mrs Dodds added: “I want to thank all those who called into my stand over the last three days. It was great to get opinions from across Northern Ireland and I can now take forward the issues raised and continue to work hard for our industry.”