Northern Ireland Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots has today (Tuesday, December 21) launched a consultation on Future Agricultural Policy Proposals for Northern Ireland.
The consultation seeks views of stakeholders on the policy proposals being developed to achieve the four key outcomes of the Future Agricultural Policy Framework Portfolio, published by the Minister on August 24, 2021.
Responses will help shape future support measures and pave the way to a tailored agricultural policy that best meets the needs of Northern Ireland.
It opens online today, and will run for eight weeks until February 15. Poots’ department will publish the findings in early 2022.
Speaking about the consultation, the Minister said: “In August this year, I launched the Future Agricultural Policy Framework Portfolio and at that time I indicated that a public consultation on the more detailed policy proposals being developed would follow.
I am now pleased to launch this consultation today on the Future Agricultural Policy Proposals for Northern Ireland.
“This is the first time in almost 50 years that we have a unique opportunity to redefine our agricultural policy and target support to meet our local priorities and needs much more effectively.
“Achieving this vision will take a collaborative effort with industry and stakeholders in the co-development and design of new measures and interventions, using evidence to inform policy decisions, encouraging uptake of innovation, science and technology, encouraging knowledge and education exchange and ensuring these policies are supported by an appropriate level of regulation.
My ultimate aim is to ensure that Northern Ireland takes full advantage of the opportunity to develop a sustainable agricultural industry in which all farmers are supported on an equitable basis to make best use of the assets at their disposal, and to invest in all forms of capital.”
The Minister continued: “As we build out this future portfolio, I want to ensure that farmers are supported and equipped with the right tools to continue producing high quality, nutritious food whilst importantly, also reducing their environmental impact.
“Going forward, I want to devise support schemes that provide opportunities for all of Northern Ireland’s farmers.
"Schemes and support are needed to help farmers develop their businesses, no matter where they farm, to become more efficient and to maximise the sustainable returns they can achieve from the assets at their disposal.
With appropriately designed policy interventions and innovation, all of this can be achieved without compromising the economic viability of the sector. If we get it right, the benefits to our rural economy can be substantial.
“I would encourage all stakeholders with an interest in food production and land use to respond so that together we can take full advantage of this unique opportunity to develop a future sustainable agricultural industry. I look forward to engaging with all those in the farming industry as we move forward with my vision for the future.”
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) will be hosting four virtual consultation events, throughout January, where you can obtain more information on the consultation. More information and how to register for these events can be found on the DAERA website.