Poots Pushes For Action On Cost And Supply Issues

The Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots, has pledged to "continue to press" senior cabinet ministers for action on rising food prices, energy costs and labour shortages.

The DUP MLA was in London meeting with senior cabinet office ministers and senior industry representatives to highlight the "enormous pressures" being experienced by NI's agri-food sector.

Minister Poots said: "Today I've met with senior cabinet office ministers and senior industry representatives to discuss the issues around the food supply in the UK, including rising prices and labour shortages. I have stressed the need for action and will continue to push for solutions that work for everyone, especially ahead of the winter months.

"I am incredibly concerned about the developments within Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion and the major influence this is having on global agri-food markets. The longer the conflict continues, the more likely we are to see a real and damaging impact on our local industries.
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"Our agri-food industry has already undergone a period of enormous pressures as a result of the pandemic and the complexities of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Reductions in labour supply, rising input costs, supply chain disruption and concerns about long running inflation are all combining to create a 'perfect storm'," he added.

Minister Poots said the key areas of concern related to the cost and availability of grains and fertilisers and that we needed to be as prepared as we can be for prolonged disruptions to supply chains as a result of the ongoing conflict.

"As well as addressing issues impinging on local agriculture and food processing, my Department is also committed to developing and implementing processes and contingency plans with other relevant Government Departments which aim to address food supply risks and ensure we are best prepared to respond to future possible food supply security issues," Minister Poots added.

Senior representatives from the food industry, supermarkets, hospitality sector and food processors also attended the meeting.

Whilst in London, Minister Poots also took the opportunity to meet with George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to discuss a number of issues relating to the Northern Ireland Protocol and to urge action at a UK level to address the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the agri-food industry.

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