Belfast Telegraph

Farmers take milk prices protest to Stormont

By John Mulgrew

Farmers from throughout Northern Ireland are set to bring their protest over milk prices to Stormont today.

Those in the dairy industry have claimed they will be put out of business if they aren't paid higher prices for their milk.

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Farmers protest at Stormont over falling food prices 

Earlier this year Dale Farm boss David Dobbin told the Belfast Telegraph the dairy industry faced one of the "most challenging markets" in recent history. The demonstration today is being led by the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU).

Its president Ian Marshall said people in Northern Ireland "understand the importance of a vibrant food industry to the local economy".

"Our aim is to make sure this message is heard in Brussels," he said.

"As a body the UFU never has and will not engage directly in mainstream politics. However, over this issue the Government at Westminster and the devolved administration here, in Scotland and in Wales have very different views of what the industry need."

The action comes days before ministers are set to meet in Brussels to discuss concerns among the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland and across the UK.

The latest action has been supported by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, whose chief executive Stephen McCully said with a "strong membership across the agri-food industry" it "continues to be a key driver of the local economy delivering export-led economic growth for the region". He added: "It is worth £4.5bn and employs almost 100,000 people.

"However, in recent weeks dairy farmers have warned that they are facing their worst crisis in decades and other agri-food sectors are impacted upon.

"To make matters worse, our exporters are also struggling with a euro historically weak against sterling."

"It's a simple message; no farmers, no food," says UFU President Ian Marshall as he stands in front of empty shelves.

— Rachel Martin (@raquellemartin) September 4, 2015

Belfast Telegraph