UFU joining food standards rally in Westminster

Tuesday, 28 January, 2020

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) will be participating in a Westminster rally to urge Government to pledge to a future UK trade policy that will prevent food produced to standards that would be illegal in the UK being imported.

The UFU will join UK farming unions NFU, NFU Cymru and NFU Scotland as well as farmers, consumer representatives and animal welfare and environment experts, for the event on 25 March at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre. The agriculture industry is coming together to back UK farming and stress the importance of protecting our world leading standards in future trade deals.

UFU president Ivor Ferguson said, “The UK’s departure from the EU is only days away and the coming months are going to be critical not only for the future of UK farming but for the Northern Ireland economy as the agri-food industry supports every one in eight jobs and turns over £4.5 billion annually. Future polices are being shaped and the UK unions are united in the belief that environmental, food and animal welfare standards must be maintained post-Brexit but that such a position must also apply to food imported from other countries. We cannot have the situation where NI farmers may be undercut by food producers operating in other countries to lower production standards.”

Secretary of State for Defra, Theresa Villiers, recently promised to defend national interests and values of UK farmers including their sustainable farming practices.

“We recognise that this is a complex issue that goes beyond the negotiating position of the UK Government in any potential trade deals, and that there will be intense pressure on British negotiators to make significant concessions on this issue. This rally is an opportunity for hundreds of UK farming union members to come together and make their views clear that the Government must not sacrifice UK farming on the altar of free trade, and we will be inviting MPs to attend the rally to hear that message first hand.

“NI farming can be one of the leading lights of post-Brexit UK if the Government chooses to become a global leader in championing sustainable, climate-friendly food that our farmers produce here. Farmers across the country are ready to rise to that challenge and we stand ready to work with the Government on that journey,” said the UFU president.