Parts of the Windsor Framework announced on Monday between the UK government and the EU will benefit farmers and growers but there are some areas where solutions still need to be found, according to the Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Giving his reaction to the deal, Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) President, David Brown, said: “We commend the substantial efforts of both the EU and the UK to find joint solutions on the Northern Ireland (NI) Protocol.

“For over two years, the UFU have lobbied in Belfast, London and Brussels highlighting the opportunities and challenges of the NI Protocol alongside our NI Business Brexit Working Group colleagues.

“From the outset, we have sought on behalf of farm families and the future of the NI agri-food industry, to secure a workable and durable solution that enables free and frictionless trade east-west and north-south.

“It’s extremely positive that progress has now been made on some of the issues that required legislative changes – issues that have been impacting agriculture and creating uncertainty for our members.

“Legislative change will allow the lifting of the ban on plants and seeds from GB coming to NI.

“Like other items travelling via the ‘green lane’, the final destination is within NI, effectively for planting to grow crops or trees, or for horticultural purposes.

“Other issues such as livestock movements, veterinary medicines, plant protection products and grain for livestock feed still require a technical solution. Through improved engagement and constructive discussions, we want to see solutions found that deliver for those impacted by these challenges.

“The UFU will analyse the Windsor Framework in depth over the coming days, consulting with our committees to examine how any new mechanisms that have been agreed, deal with UK-EU divergence and the impact of future EU legislation on NI agriculture.

“This includes EU animal health law. We will also continue to engage closely with the UK government, DEFRA and DAERA.”

Meanwhile, Retail NI Chief Executive, Glyn Roberts said: “On an initial analysis, this new agreement represents welcome progress towards providing the stability and certainty that our retail, wholesale and supplier members are seeking.

“The technical detail of this agreement will need to be studied further and, following consultation with our membership, we will be able to comment more definitively.

“In the interim, what is blatantly evident is that the agreement needs to work, not just for all the businesses in our local supply chain, but also for local consumers.

“Ongoing engagement between the business community and the EU and UK Government will be critical as the implementation process of this deal begins.

“It is imperative that the NI Executive and Assembly is now restored to deal with the huge economic challenges that lie ahead.

“Northern Ireland needs a working government.”


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