UFU responds to consultation

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union says the need for a NI Science Strategy Framework is undeniable, but the approach must be more balanced. The comments were made after the UFU submitted its response to DAERA’s consultation on a newly proposed Science Strategy Framework.

UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “With the UK preparing to leave the EU, the importance of the scientific evidence DAERA uses to support policy development and underpin statutory requirements has increased. Their consultation enables the UFU, and other stakeholders, to voice our opinion on whether we consider the Science Strategy Framework to be relevant and appropriate for the agriculture sector in Northern Ireland.

“The strategy that DAERA has proposed needs to have a finer balance. The remit within the document appears to be extremely broad which could cause high levels of bureaucracy and become an administrative burden. We would encourage that any science strategy going forward be more proactive.”

The UFU is concerned that the document does not mention what DAERA wants the Northern Ireland agri-food industry to look like in the future regarding scientific needs. “There needs to be a greater focus on innovation within the agriculture industry, not a major concentration on DAERA policy objectives.”