The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has responsibility for food, farming, environmental, fisheries, forestry and sustainability policy and the development of the rural sector in Northern Ireland. The Department assists the sustainable development of the agri-food, environmental, fishing and forestry sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, having regard for the needs of the consumers, the protection of human, animal and plant health, the welfare of animals and the conservation and enhancement of the environment.
DAERA provides a business development service for farmers and growers and a veterinary service for administration of animal health and welfare. The Department’s College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) delivers training and further and higher education courses in the agri-food sector. DAERA is responsible to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in Great Britain for the administration of schemes affecting the whole of the United Kingdom. The Department also oversees the application of European Union agricultural, environmental, fisheries and rural development policy to Northern Ireland.
DAERA has two Executive Agencies:
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
- Forest Service
The Department also sponsors a number of NDPBs including the Agri-food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).
The Permanent Secretary of DAERA is Denis McMahon.