23 March 2001
Foot & Mouth: Adams calls for island-wide `Code of Principles and Practices' for farm and commercial food processing
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has called for an island-wide `Code of Principles and Practices' for farm and commercial food processing.
Speaking in West Tyrone at a meeting with his party colleague, Sinn Fein Vice-President Pat Doherty MLA, Mr Adams said:
``The current crisis in our agricultural industry is not just a consequence of the Foot and Mouth problem. Other factors are also at work. Consequently, I believe we need the early creation of an island-wide code of principles and practices for farm and commercial food processing.''
The Sinn Fein president also spoke of the plight of farmers and other people in the food and tourism industries ``who are suffering great hardship as a result of the current Foot and Mouth crisis''.
``We need to urgently examine ways in which farmers, hoteliers and others affected by this crisis can be helped, both in the short-term and the long-term.''
Mr Adams said:
``Our agricultural industry is in crisis - and not just over Foot and Mouth although that is the most pressing issue today. We have to see the Foot and Mouth threat in its right context.
``Foot and Mouth, E-Coeli, salmonella, BSE - it's a lot more than coincidence. For more than 10 years the farming sector has been rocked by a series of crises that all serve to undermine consumer confidence in the quality of the food products we eat. This crisis has been caused by the transformation of farming from family-run enterprises to businesses where profits and costs dictate.
``We need to tackle the Foot and Mouth crisis but we also need to look at the underlying reasons that created this crisis in the first place.
``There is a clear need to put quality back as the cornerstone of the Irish farm sector - from the decisions made by individual farmers, through to the food processors and abattoirs, and right down to the supermarkets and exporters.
``We need an island-wide `Code of Principles and Practices' for farm and commercial food processing.
``We also need to urgently examine ways in which farmers affected by this crisis can be helped, both in the short-term and the long-term.
``This reality needs to be at the heart of any honest policy to ensure an adequate food policy in Ireland.''
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