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Ferris launches Future of Farming and Fishing report at National Ploughing Championships

21 September, 2010 - by Martin Ferris TD


Speaking today at the launch of his report on Future of Farming and Fishing in the West at the National Ploughing Championships in Athy, Co. Kildare today, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris said he was very happy to have been able to present the report to the Oireachtas All-Party Committee and to have received endorsement for the range of measures outlined in it which he believes are necessary to secure the sectors future.

Ferris along with Agriculture Minister for the Northern Executive Michelle Gildernew, launched the report which has been endorsed by the Oireachtas All-Party Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and highlights the deep anger and anxieties of the plight of farmers around the country. It calls for cuts to the sector to be reversed and for a complete reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

While addressing visitors at the launch in the Sinn Féin tent, Ferris said that the report involved much consultation with a wide range of people in the farming and fishing sector. As a result it represents an acutely accurate depiction of the current state of the rural economy particularly in the West, and of the kind of progressive strategies needed.

He emphasised that one of the key themes running through the submission is its recommendations to place more emphasis on the indigenous rural economy.
The Kerry North TD also pointed out that while the report was vehemently critical of Government policy the Government majority on the Committee did not oppose anything in the report.

Deputy Ferris concluded by saying that “family farming continues to be the fabric of rural Ireland, the fabric of rural communities, and so it is essential that family farming is safe guarded for future generations. Farming must not be solely about intensification and the continual enlargement of holdings at the detriment of the small family farm. It is important that the exploitation of our resources is for the overall and longer-term betterment of our communities.” He hopes the report will be a useful tool in widening the debate within rural Ireland.

While the report contains an overview of the current state of the sector, it also has number of specific recommendations some of which are listed below. It also contains a survey on Farmers Outlook for the Future. The full report can be accessed online at www.sinnfein.ie

Some of the main recommendations:
• Defend Single Farm Payment (SFP) against any attempt to undermine it through World Trade Organisation
• Abolition of SFP for large businesses not directly involved in farming
• Full payment of SFP each October
• One week’s notice for all farm inspections
• Retention of milk quota
• Incorporation of water preservation measures into REPS
• Promotion of traditional cattle and sheep breeds
• Increase national energy crop grant to €125 per hectare
• Promote community based wind energy projects
• Maintain ban on Brazilian meat imports
• Full country of origin labeling for all beef and lamb products
• Encourage provision of local food outlets
• Revoke cuts to Suckler Welfare Scheme and Disadvantaged Area Payments
• Renegotiation of the Common Fisheries Policy
• Introduction of Administrative sanctions for fisheries offences
• Country of origin labeling for all fish products
• Measures to address the issue of fish discard
• Increase in quota in proportion to share of fishing waters

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