ROBIN Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member and his Party’s Westminster candidate in the area, has warned that the constituency’s farming community needs urgent action from the Government if it is not to face the same financial ruin that happened to Northern Ireland’s linen industry.
Assemblyman Swann said: “Agriculture is one of the main industries in this predominantly rural constituency and our farming community was already strained to breaking point in the past because of the Foot and Mouth crisis.
“North Antrim’s farming families provide a massive contribution to the social, economic and environmental life of the constituency.
“The agricultural community forms not just a major part of the commercial backbone of North Antrim, but also of this entire Province. We must not allow the fight to save this important industry to become a party political or sectarian football.
“I would appeal to the entire North Antrim community to unite behind the constituency’s farmers in this their latest time of crisis.
“The livelihoods of many thousands of people in the farming industry are at risk right across the Province. However, it is not only those directly involved in farming who stand to lose if the Ulster agricultural industry goes under financially.
“The vast consumer market in Northern Ireland will also suffer. They represent the hundreds of thousands of people in the Province who buy farm produce, such as beef, bacon, eggs, poultry products, and vegetables.
“Various sectors of the Province’s farming community have suffered drastically for more than a decade.
“The beef, poultry, pig and land-based farmers have all faced financial ruin in recent years. The time has come for a community-wide campaign to support our farming industry, whatever the sector.
“This united campaign must spread across every city, town, village and hamlet in our Province.
“The people of Northern Ireland can help considerably by ensuring when they buy their groceries, that they buy local. In this fight to save our local farming industry, each of us has a role to play. Let us all move forward together as a community and ensure that the Ulster farming industry survives well into the new millennium,” said Assemblyman Swann.
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