FARMERS For Action has welcomed Stormont back to work. William Taylor said: “If Northern Ireland farmers had downed tools for a fraction of the time that Stormont’s politicians have done, there would be a lot of hungry people and food prices would be a lot higher.”
He added: “However, as we know, it is not in farming families’ psyche to down tools across the board, but that should not mean a lack of fairness on farmgate prices. Therefore, now that Stormont is finally back to work, this is top priority for NI Farm Groups.
“Work is now in top gear to start the process of having the oven-ready Bill for legislation on farmgate prices to find its way into Stormont and start its process into law.”
Mr Taylor added: “As the Stormont-less years have gone by, many good family farmers in Northern Ireland just find themselves going further into debt to keep pace with the bills, never mind re-investment and profit.
“Northern Ireland’s MLAs must realise the emergency of the serious crossroads that Northern Ireland family farmers and indeed farmers across the world are facing. With the millions of acres of productive farm land and crops currently being lost in Australia, the Philippines, Brazil and many other places through climate change, farmers need legislation on farmgate prices immediately to have a future and play their part in the climate change battle.
“Politicians can no longer tolerate farming families in their care not being properly paid for their produce as pressure on food supplies around the world are mounting by the day. FFA are clear that if the Legislation Bill were to go through Stormont asap then going forward our family farmers would be financially fit to play their part in modernising their production methods to keep the people fed, with everything that climate change looks set to throw at us.”
Turning to Brexit, Mr Taylor said: “The sea will remain relatively calm until this time next year when we are facing the border down the Irish Sea which will go one of two ways – either commence business with Customs and Excise checks in place to implement a new agreed EU deal (however, the EU are very sceptical this can be completed in 12 months) or commence business without an EU deal under WTO tariffs with Customs & Excise checks in place.
“Until then let’s get legislation on farmgate prices in Northern Ireland done – so that Northern Ireland family farmers are ready to deal with climate change and are ready to deal with Brexit next year!”