Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has written to the DEFRA Secretary of State, George Eustice, to press for Government to take immediate and significant steps to help support primary producers at this time of economic pressures on farms.
As DUP Spokesperson on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at Westminster, Mrs Lockhart said:
“Farmers across Northern Ireland are facing unprecedented increases in input costs, with the cost of fertiliser, grain and on farm energy causing huge strain on farm businesses. As the situation in the Ukraine continues, it is clear there will be little let up in terms of these pressures. Indeed only this week we learned of further increases in electricity by some providers in the Northern Ireland market.
Such pressures can only be sustained for a very short period before some farm businesses hit a crisis. That is why it is vital the Government recognise the importance of food security, and affordable food at a time of a cost of living crisis that is forcing some to choose between heating and eating. If the Government is serious about ensuring food prices and supply remaining stable, then they are going to have to offer up some degree of direct financial aid to help in that food production process, and support primary producers. Likewise there is an onus on supermarkets and big retailers to step up there response to this crisis in terms of prices.
The steps announced by DEFRA recently go nowhere near far enough in heading off this crisis. We need the scale of the situation to be properly grasped, and appropriate steps taken in response. That is my call to the Government, and I hope that they listen.”