23 July 2017
Commenting after DEFRA Secretary of State, Michael Gove’s visit to Northern Ireland, Paul Girvan MP said:-
"I welcome Mr Gove's visit to Northern Ireland over the weekend and I am sure this will be one of many, given the important role he will play in the future of agriculture and environmental policy in the coming years.
This visit highlights the fact that the DUP will continue to input into Government the need for an agriculture policy which delivers for farmers, rural areas and the wider economy in particular. We have demonstrated to Government that we take agriculture seriously which can be seen in the commitment to funding for direct support in the supply and confidence deal.
During the visit I highlighted a number of key areas for Northern Ireland agriculture going forward but also the family farming structure which we have and the need to protect this. We want agriculture policy to reflect the needs of our farmers but to continue to build a more productive, sustainable and profitable sector here in Northern Ireland. One which recognises our contribution to UK food production but also one which will allow Northern Ireland to play a role in exporting and building a global Britain.
As a party we also highlighted our views on imports of food products into the UK and the need for a level playing field. It's not acceptable to ask our farmers to meet a raft of requirements and then have to compete with cheaper lower standard goods.
The importance of the fishing sector here in Northern Ireland was also raised during our meeting and importance of fishing rights and access to labour.
Mr Gove was willing to listen to the needs of the sectors and I believe recognises their importance but also to ensure Brexit delivers the best possible deal for those at the coal face.
The DUP will continue to engage in this process and play a full role in presenting the needs of this industry going forward."