Protecting our environment whilst enhancing our agri-food sector will be the key focus of my tenure as DAERA Minister.
That was the message from Edwin Poots who has been appointed as Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).
Welcoming his appointment Minister Poots said his new role presented some challenges but also many opportunities.
Minister Poots said: “The work this Department does affects and impacts on everyone in Northern Ireland, from the food we eat, the air we breathe, our wonderful landscape, our rural communities and our agriculture sector. DAERA boasts one of the most important, diverse, wide-ranging and interesting portfolios and it is a privilege for me to hold this post.
“My focus will be on ensuring we have sustainable agri-food, fisheries, forestry and industrial sectors; prioritising a clean, healthy environment, benefiting people, nature and the economy and enabling a thriving rural economy.
“There is no doubt that we face many challenges, from the potential impacts of Brexit and tackling climate change along with issues like ammonia, TB and protecting our environment. It will only be by working together, across government, industry and indeed as citizens, that we will be able to face them and find workable solutions.
“The agri-food sector employs approximately 100,000 people and generates more than £4billion in sales and exports. It is in a unique position to positively impact and influence not only our economy, but also our environment. Those working in the sector are the custodians of our green lands and must be at the very core of any future policies to protect and enhance our environment.
“I will continue to work with the agri-food industry to ensure the sector is profitable, sustainable and productive, with people at its heart.”
The Minister concluded: “It is a privilege to be asked to take up this role and I look forward to working with industry, stakeholders and the wider community all of whom make a valuable contribution to our environment and economy.”