Rodgers opens ‘Vision’ conference at Loughry College

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bríd Rodgers, has opened the Vision Consultation Conference on the province’s agri-food sector.

After declaring the conference at Loughry College in Cookstown open, the Minister said: “I expect this Conference to complement and enhance the bilateral contacts, both verbal and written, which I am having with the stakeholders in the agri?food industry and those concerned with environmental and rural development issues. It is important to get the reaction of interested organisations to the views of other groups as well as to the Report itself.

“I emphasised to delegates that they must pay attention to all aspects of the Report including those comments and recommendations directed to the industry itself. The Vision exercise is not just about what Government can do for the industry but how the various parts of the food chain can take action to improve efficiency, marketing and, ultimately, the incomes of those involved.

Mrs Rodgers said that the Conference formed an important part of the consultation process and she looked forward to receiving the comments and opinions of all of those attending.

The Conference follows on from the delayed publication of the Vision Report into the future of the Northern Ireland agri-food sector in October this year.

The consultation period will end on December 31, 2001and as well as the Conference, the Minister is to conduct a series of bilateral meetings with stakeholders as part of the consultation.

Once the consultation phase is complete work will begin on the preparation of an Action Plan, which is expected to be published in the Spring of 2002. (SP)

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