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Farmers need fair price for produce – Minister O’Neill tells retailer representatives

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All parts of the supply chain must work together in a collaborative and co-ordinated way to address the current difficulties facing our industry, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill told representatives from the retail sector today.

Following a meeting with the NI Independent Retail Trade Association and the NI Retail Consortium the Minister said: “I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing our farmers at present and the significant role agriculture plays in our local economy. I will continue to promote and champion our local industry, and I believe that a profitable and sustainable local industry can only be achieved if farmers see a fair return for their produce.

“I am committed to improving the supply chain and I’m working to establish a forum that includes all elements of the supply chain, which will consider how best to develop a strong, sustainable agri-food supply chain and which I believe will encourage greater fairness, transparency and communication,” said Minister O’Neill.

“I was very encouraged today to hear about the steps taken by retailers to increase the amount of locally sourced products on their shelves and the campaigns they use to market local produce to consumers. In addition, recent initiatives by retailers to pay more for liquid milk are also welcomed.

“I am extremely keen to see all elements of the supply chain working together in a more integrated manner. It is only when the supply chain functions in a collaborative and co-ordinated way, that we can address the current difficulties facing our industry and move forward in a more sustainable way to meet the needs of the consumer,” concluded the Minister.

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