Ferris highlights potential for Agri-Food industry
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has highlighted the potential that exists within the agri-food sector to provide an impetus for indigenous economic growth. He was speaking during time allotted this evening in the Dáil for statements on the farming and agri-food sector. The Kerry North TD also referred to the huge impact which flooding has had on farmers in many parts of the country.
Deputy Ferris said: “It is ironic that the Report of the Economic Forum of Irish Farm and Food Industry Leaders on the agri-food sector ought to appear at a time when it is unlikely to be matched with the sort of commitment on the part of the Department which it requires.
“As the report states there is huge potential to harness the food sector as a vital element of economic recovery. Central to that is the whole issue of food security which, it has been argued, in the Irish context, would be threatened if the EU was to return to advocating the sort of measures proposed by Mandelson within the context of the WTO trade negotiations.
“This country still retains significant advantages in the area of food production and one that can be built on in order to further enhance the Irish processing and general food sector with all the benefits that would bring in terms of farm viability and income as well as job creation. Indeed it is one of the few major areas where we can actually make decisions and implement strategies that are not dependent to a huge extent, as for example in some manufacturing areas, by what happens outside of Ireland and decisions taken by multi nationals.”
Deputy Ferris also referred to a report on the sector being prepared for the Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment by Arthur Morgan which refers to problems of access to credit, research, labelling, co-operation between key actors and state support as key issues.