Amid persistent rumours that MAFF is to be broken up and replaced with a new department of rural affairs, junior minister Joyce Quin this week defended the ministry's work. She told The Grocer during her tour of Food and Drink Expo: "There is a definite need for government to respond on agriculture policy at the highest level. Senior ministers are needed to negotiate within the EU Council of Ministers. "Whatever organisation we have in government it is important the issues are addressed on a cross-departmental way. That is why the government is preparing the rural White Paper and why work is being done in consultation with other departments." {{NEWS }}