Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has said farm businesses from the north should be able to continue to participate in Bord Bia quality assurance schemes following the Brexit transition period.
The Chair of the Assembly’s Agriculture committee said:
“Following representation from farmers in the poultry sector, I had written to Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to highlight serious concerns that Brexit could prohibit Bord Bia’s auditing and accreditation of production facilities in the north.
“Any impediment to this would have serious consequences for the sector locally as there is a specific North of Ireland Bord Bia logo which potentially may not be available after 1st January 2021.
“In his response Minister Poots said he was aware that a number of producers and processors across a range of sectors in the north benefit from participation in a range of Bord Bia quality assurance schemes for agricultural products
“He also noted their concerns that they may no longer be eligible to participate in these quality schemes after the end of the Transition Period, saying his officials have contacted Bord Bia’s parent department and minister seeking clarification on any potential issues.
“Agriculture processing is highly integrated across the island of Ireland and any obstruction to any part of this can damage the entire food ecosystem. Sadly, this dilemma is another product of a Brexit decision the people of the north did not vote for.
“I welcome the intervention of Minister Poots with his counterpart in Dublin to highlight this serious issue and I will continue to engage with the Minister and my counterpart Matt Carthy TD to strengthen the case for our farmers at this time of great uncertainty.”