Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots (pictured) has launched his department’s Business Plan 2021-2022 following a challenging 2020.
The 2021-2022 plan has a sharp focus on recovery following the global pandemic, the challenges presented by EU Exit and the urgency surrounding climate change.
The plan will focus on ensuring a sustainable future for agriculture, championing environmental protection and supporting a prosperous rural life.
Mr Poots said: “There is no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year for Northern Ireland as a whole, but particularly for Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector and rural communities. Now is the time to reset and refocus our efforts towards where they are needed most – rebuilding our agri-food sector in a sustainable way, developing and defending our natural world and ensuring that our rural communities are supported.
“The department’s 2021-22 Business Plan will provide our roadmap for the year ahead. It is our first year of DAERA’s Plan to 2050: Sustainability for the Future and will set us on our path to achieve our key strategic priorities.
“It supports the outcomes set out in the draft Programme for Government as well as our key commitments under ‘New Decade, New Approach’.”
Speaking about the months ahead, the Minister said: “The Plan will help us to develop NI policies to better suit our regional economy, our environment and our agri-food sector. It outlines our work in the next year, to protect and enhance the environment, support our rural communities, encourage growth and diversity in the agri-food sector, improve the health of people living here and ensure that sustainability is the common thread woven between them.
“I want sustainability to be at the heart of everything we do, taking a partnership approach with business and communities, supporting them to look after the environment and to be its custodian for future generations.
“This sustainable approach creates a healthy environment to live in and will support a healthy population and stimulate healthy economic rural communities.
“It will also help the agri-food sector to increase productivity, ensure environmental sustainability, improve resilience and focus on supply chain integration.
‘My department is committed to working collectively to deliver on the targets within this Business Plan.
“There are significant challenges to meet but I am confident that we will deliver for those who live and work here in Northern Ireland.”
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