Speaking in the NI Assembly today about the draft Direct Payments to Farmers (Simplifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022, Green Party NI Clare Bailey MLA called for agriculture funding to be reformed to assist farmers in the transition to net-zero.
The South Belfast MLA said: “Simplifications and certainty for farmers are welcome, but it’s disappointing that for a second year after leaving the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy system, the changes being made in Northern Ireland are so insignificant. The rest of the UK has either introduced, or will be introducing, new agriculture legislation, whilst yet again, Northern Ireland is lagging behind.
“As agriculture is our highest emitting sector, Northern Ireland’s farmers have a vital role to play in the transition to net-zero. I have spoken to farmers who are keen to make changes to reduce emissions, but are frustrated by the difficulty in accessing financial incentives and joining environmental schemes.
“We are in a climate emergency. Environmental farming schemes should be properly funded and easily accessible. The cross-party net-zero Climate Change Bill will introduce a Just Transition Fund for Agriculture, which will ensure that farmers will have access to financing to assist them achieving the emissions reductions we need to guarantee that Northern Ireland reaches net-zero.”
Media contact: Jack O'Dwyer-Henry (07504410770)