CONCERNS have been raised that the lack of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive could hamper farmer efforts to become more sus-tainable.
Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer said the lack of an Executive could negatively impact the journey of
farming sectors towards sustain-ability after attending the EU Sustainable Dairy symposium.
Mr McAleer said: “The symposium brought together government off-
icials, industry experts, local farm-ers and included an insightful contribution from a Dutch farmer to discuss the dairy sectors pathway towards environmental and fin-ancial sustainability.
“There were informative contri-butions from local farmers on what they are doing in terms of the ‘Agreccalc’ carbon calculator, soil analysis, mixed swards and better use of slurry to cut down on fertiliser costs.
“However, farmers need gover-nment support to help with this journey. It was highlighted that
customers are increasingly demand-ing sustainable produce and our competitors in other countries and regions are ahead of us in this journey.
“Our local farmers are already on the back foot because of Brexit, the loss of EU funding and the spiralling cost of inputs.
“Having no Executive while civil
servants are developing a future agriculture policy and Climate Action Plans is completely un-acceptable. With no functioning Assembly, it is difficult to see how targets can even be implemented given that it is a legal requirement of the Climate Change Act for targets to be agreed by the Assembly following a 16-week consultation.
“It was clear from the conference that the dairy industry is up for the sustainability challenge but they need the support of government to do this.
“The Executive must get up and running again without further delay.”
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