DUP Assembly Candidate Jim Wells has said his party will continue to prioritise rural affairs and support for the agricultural industry in the course of the next Assembly term.
With ongoing concerns about price volatility, high input prices and decreasing profit margins, Mr Wells said the DUP would continue to ensure DARD lobbies for a strong Single Farm Payment, and pursue this at Stormont, at Westminster and in Europe.
Mr Wells said, “This year has been another difficult time for farmers, particularly with input prices at record levels. While some prices have increased, mainly for milk producers, we still are faced with diminish ing returns for farmer’s hard labour.
“In this context a strong Single Farm Payment to support food production is vital and we in the DUP have been working to ensure that the reform of the CAP is positive for our local industry. I know that my colleague Diane Dodds MEP has been at the forefront of this battle in Brussels, and in the next Assembly term, as the reform is implimented, DARD must introduce the change in a way that is of maximum benefit to farmers. We certainly need no more red tape and it is essential that DARD is a department of support for our agriculture industry.
“No other party can represent our farmers at all levels of government - Stormont, Westminster and Europe - and no other party has given the level of support and delivery for the industry.
Agri-food, whether it be farming or indeed fishing, is key to the economic revival of Northern Ireland and will remain a DUP priority.”