Consumers are encouraged to buy local for their traditional Easter feed of lamb – in both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Ulster Famers' Union Deputy President, Victor Chestnutt, is calling on customers to go for local lamb this Easter for their family celebrations.

He said: "Easter has traditionally been a time of the year when legs of lamb are a firm favourite for family get-togethers over the holiday period. We are at the start of a new season, so you can be sure you are getting fresh, tasty, high-quality lamb when you buy local."

Chestnutt, who runs a sheep farm near the Giant's Causeway, said: "Northern Ireland has some excellent sheep farmers producing lamb to world-leading standards, ensuring that the consumer gets the safe and healthy red meat that they deserve."

Chestnutt pointed out the role played by sheep farmers in maintaining the aesthetic values of the Irish countryside.

"Many sheep farmers manage their flocks on our most scenic landscapes. From the Belfast hills, to the Antrim Glens, the Sperrins and the Mournes, all of these special places would not be the attractive landscapes they are today without the stewardship of our local sheep farmers.

When you buy local lamb not only are you getting nutritious, delicious, safe, high-quality meat but you are also showing your support for local farmers and the conservation work they do.

Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland, lamb for Easter is also encouraged enthusiastically by Bord Bia, which notes the great tradition of lamb farming in Ireland as well as the excellent climate conditions for lamb-rearing across the country. Bord Bia also extolled the health benefits of lamb.

It says that lamb is high in essential minerals, proteins and vitamins necessary for good health. It is extremely rich in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, very rich in Zinc, high in CLA’s and rich in desirable Omega-3 fatty acids.

Recipes for lamb recommended by Bord Bia include "everyday barbecued lamb" and "leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary" which are both available on their website.