Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Farm incomes require urgent action

30 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has criticised direct rule farm Minster Ian Pearson for comments calling on farmers 'to improve efficiency' after the release of the latest farm income information showed that incomes had not improved over the last 12 months.

Ms Gildernew said:

"It is clear that farmers' incomes are dependent on many forces outside of their control - particularly costs and returns. However it is a disgrace that the only response that the British direct rule Agriculture Minster can come up with is to call on farmers to improve efficiency. Is he suggesting that farmers eat one less meal a day!

"Sinn Féin are not alone in voicing concerns about the fixing of farm gate prices and the impact of the multiples on returns. It is also clear that more can be done to reduce costs faced by farmers.

"The department needs to cut out the red tape - rid itself of inefficiency and begin to deliver a service and the representation that the future of the farming industry deserves.

"It is also clear that being tied into a policy framework that has the requirements of London and the British industry at its heart has served us very poorly. We need to see urgent steps to deliver an all-Ireland agricultural policy framework and all-Ireland bodies that can deliver on food safety and animal health as well as accepting the value of developing the all-Ireland branding image for our produce." ENDS

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