‘Action needed to support Dairy Farmers’ – Ritchie

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info@newrytimes.com
Friday, December 12th, 2014
Politics
During Foreign Office questions in the House of Commons SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie has raised concerns over the impact on the local dairy industry of Russia’s ban on EU agricultural products. Speaking from Westminster Richie stated, “The dairy industry in Northern Ireland is already facing challenging times with increasing price volatility and the farmgate price of milk 5p lower than the UK average, putting it below the cost of production. “The Russian ban on agricultural imports from the EU is making the situation a lot worse. £4.5 billion of food exports are affected by this ban, £39million in the UK alone. “Dairy producers in northern Ireland are particularly reliant on exports and as a result have been subject to severe financial pressure following the Russian ban. “I was pleased that the UK Foreign Secretary confirmed that DEFRA and UKTI would work with the local industry to access EU support funds that have been set up and to explore opportunities in alternative markets. Both of these measures will be important in supporting dairy farmers and the wider agricultural industry. The local SDLP MP added, “I will continue to pursue this issue when the EFRA Committee meets this afternoon, as it is vital that the dairy industry is protected at this difficult time.”

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