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Measures on way to protect Northern Ireland's food security and supply chain from coronavirus pressures


Plan: Minister Edwin Poots

Plan: Minister Edwin Poots

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Plan: Minister Edwin Poots

Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots has announced a series of measures to protect the security of food supply lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Poots confirmed that his department has been appointed as the lead for Northern Ireland's food security with responsibility for imports from the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

Mr Poots said: "Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of our food chain, at a local, national and international level.

"Our local supply lines are quite secure and food is moving well off-farm and onto our shelves.

"There is more than enough for us all, given that NI produces enough to feed 10 million people across the globe.

"The current situation has, however, highlighted the need to look at this issue on a system-wide and coherent basis, to keep food on our shelves," he added.

Mr Poots said his department has developed an initial plan on food supply which covers the management of risk along the entire food chain, including: the import of raw materials such as animal feedstuffs; food processing; distribution and consumption; food availability; access; affordability; safety; nutrition and quality; resilience and confidence.

The DUP minister added: "We are also developing a Food Observatory to continuously assess the health of the food system, with a view to encouraging and supporting measures to maintain its flexibility and resilience.

"If we have learned one thing from the current crisis, it's that we shouldn't take the supply of food for granted," the Lagan Valley MLA added.