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New committee to identify the way ahead for agriculture 23 March 2006

    The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon Phil Gawne MHK, has announced that his Department, working in conjunction with the Manx National Farmers Union, the Agricultural Marketing Society and the Fatstock and Milk Marketing Associations, has established a new body known as the 2010 Committee.

    After 2010, the derogation which has enabled the Island to control imports of beef and sheepmeat will no longer be in place. However, the 2010 Committee’s remit goes beyond 2010.

    “Its purpose is to identify a strategic business plan and vision for the industry for the next 10 years,” explained Mr Gawne. “An important part of that plan and vision will be to identify the basis on which the Meat Plant and the Fatstock Marketing Association can best offer services to producers.”

    The team has already reviewed the need for the capacity of the current abattoir, and identified the situation with beef stock numbers.

    The Minister said that the 2010 Committee was an appropriate body to consider all the options for the future of the Meat Plant. Amongst these, it would consider the implications of complete closure, replacement with a smaller unit, or maintaining the present facility and increasing Government subvention.

    “The Department is keen to see a competitive trading environment on the Isle of Man, where our farmers can compete against their peers in the UK,” said Mr Gawne. “The 2010 Committee has been tasked with proposing areas which can be addressed towards these aims. However, I would be concerned to see subvention if this was not preceded by real measures to control the costs of the slaughter process and to ensure improved transparency and relationships through out the food chain.”

    The 2010 Committee intends to propose an initial range of options and recommendations on the way forwards for the Manx farming industry by September 2006.

    23rd March 2006

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