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Farmers want 'best possible' access to EU market after Brexit, says union

UFU President Ivor Ferguson wants a better system
UFU President Ivor Ferguson wants a better system

By Staff Reporter

The Ulster Farmers' Union has urged the Government to make sure Brexit presents new opportunities for the industry.

President Ivor Ferguson called for ministers to secure his members' position in the UK market, while giving the best possible access to the 27 states of the European Union.

He was responding to the publication of the Future Agricultural Policy Framework document, which will help shape the debate on future support arrangements for Northern Ireland.

Mr Ferguson said: "Our goal is a productive, sustainable and resilient farming industry, and this document is a good start to securing that."

The UFU says it is essential the local share of UK farm support remains the same and that any new system is simple and avoids red tape.

"It must be targeted at those who take the risks in primary food production. This is an opportunity to create a better system, and it is essential we take this chance to get it right," said Mr Ferguson.

Norman Fulton, deputy secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, said: "Following our initial and very positive engagement with a number of stakeholders representing farming, food and environmental interests, we are now seeking views from across a much broader range of stakeholders on possible future agricultural support arrangements in NI as we prepare to leave the EU.

"CAP payments have been important in sustaining the industry, underpinning its competitive trading position and developing its environmental performance, so it is essential that the industry in NI is provided with some certainty in relation to future support arrangements in the shorter term."

The consultation remains open until October 10.

Belfast Telegraph