UFU publish general election manifesto

Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

The Ulster Farmers’ Union is calling on politicians to ‘back farming’ as it launches its 2019 general election manifesto. UFU president Ivor Ferguson said, “The success of UK farming matters to the UK electorate – especially at this time of unprecedented change. The UK’s decision to leave the European Union may dominate the political agenda but now is also the time for long-term planning. There are new opportunities with a growing UK population, and opportunities too with a new relationship with the European Union. Plans are needed to counter the threat of climate change and global concern over food and energy security.”

The agri-food industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, valued at £122 billion annually and employing four million people. In Northern Ireland, agriculture and agri-food employ over 100,000 people and is worth almost £5 billion to the local economy. Mr Ferguson said, “We want the next Government to have confidence in UK farming and that enables us to deliver for our country, our countryside and the vast majority of people who want to buy UK food. The UFU has a vision of a productive, profitable and progressive farming sector which can deliver for the environment, for the consumer, and for the economy.”

The manifesto covers five key policy challenges: Navigating Brexit for UK farming; Developing a framework for a more competitive and sustainable farming sector; Building a thriving countryside and rural communities; Securing a long-term Government food strategy; and Placing science at the heart of policymaking - which UK food and farming, working alongside Government, must address over the next Parliament.

“As well as growing and producing the high quality, healthy food that we all eat and enjoy, UK farmers and growers are custodians of our iconic countryside and leaders in promoting animal welfare standards. We underpin the food and drink industry, the largest UK manufacturing sector, and support rural and urban communities up and down the country,” says Mr Ferguson.

Brexit is just one of the challenges facing farmers. “There are a number of issues that farmers want to see addressed. A fairer supply chain, the UK food strategy, future funding and format of support for agriculture, the eradication of Bovine TB, broadband, and rural crime are also covered in the manifesto. These issues must also be addressed in the next parliament,” says the UFU president.

The manifesto is available at www.ufuni.org and the UFU will be sending a copy to local candidates and candidates in GB.