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Sugden welcomes aid package for Northern Ireland farmers

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Claire Sugden MLA has welcomed the new that Northern Ireland farmers are to receive an extra £5.1m aid package from the EU Commission.

Miss Sugden said:

“I welcome news this week that Northern Ireland farmers will receive a £5.1M aid package from the EU Commission to ease the impact of the dramatic price falls in the dairy sector.

Incredibly, the milk price this year was 34% lower that July 2014.  Farmers cannot be expected to sustain production if prices continue to drop and unfortunately production here is slowing.  Figures released by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development show the volume of milk produced locally has fallen by over 45 million litres since May this year.

While an aid package from Europe is good news, it is a short term fix.  Europe must do more, beginning with a honest review of the EU intervention price of 16 pence per litre of milk.  It hasn’t been reviewed since 2008 and doesn’t come close to the current average production cost in Northern Ireland of 27 pence per litre of milk.

I am fully supportive of local farmers and will keep pressing the UK and Northern Ireland governments to get behind our farmers.  I encourage everyone, however, to give them their backing.

Northern Ireland is a rural economy.  If the rug is pulled from underneath our farmers, then the rug is pulled from under us.  The cost of milk is having a huge, indirect impact on all areas of our local economy and will only get worse as prices continue to plummet.”

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