Responding to the ongoing labour shortage Rural Affairs Minister Lord Benyon has pledged that the Government “wants to make sure it is protecting pig farmers everywhere.”
Farming representatives across the UK say they have been warning that a shortage of migrant labour in the industry is causing major backlogs in slaughtering and processing animals.
Speaking in the House of Lords on Thursday, Ulster Unionist peer Lord Rogan said: “Over recent days, a succession of Government Ministers has told us how much they value Northern Ireland’s place within the United Kingdom. As a Unionist, I warmly welcome that.”
However, Lord Rogan said that nearly a month ago, the Ulster Farmers’ Union President publicly warned that the Province’s pig farmers may have to start culling their animals because of labour shortages.
Lord Rogan asked the Minister to explain what contacts he and his officials have had with the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland and the Ulster Farmers’ Union to help address this “perilous situation.”
In response Lord Benyon said a Minister of State at DEFRA had been in frequent conversations with all the devolved Governments on the issue.
“It is absolutely vital that we look at this problem not just within the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. This is an issue that runs entirely across the Union and we want to make sure that we’re protecting pig farmers everywhere,” Lord Benyon addded.