Small Farmers have been neglected by Brussels and Dublin – Martin Kenny
Speaking today from the Farming in Peripheral Areas Conference in Milford Co Donegal, Sinn Féin local councillor and General Election Candidate, Martin Kenny, has said that the neglect of small farmers has taken its toll and there is a clear need for a change in policy direction.
Kenny chaired a section of the conference on sustainable farming policy. Speaking in Milford, the local councillor said:
“I would like to commend my colleague Matt Carthy MEP for hosting this excellent conference, which seeks to explore policy solutions to the particular challenges faced by farmers in peripheral and marginal areas.
“In recent times there has been a consistent neglect of small farmers in particular with cuts to Farm Assist and the REPS scheme. Make no mistake, this has taken its toll on rural communities.“The latest figures from Teagasc show that the average family farm income is in the region of €22,000 to €23,000 per annum and of course, in marginal areas, that figure is much lower.
“Despite this fact, many farmers feel that farming has become increasingly challenging in terms of the requirements to comply with regulations in terms of health and safety, environment, food safety and animal welfare.
“Many small farmers feel under increased pressure, cannot afford assistance on the farm and feel that their voices are largely ignored in Dublin and Brussels. They fear for the future of their family farm.
“It is clear that, for the future sustainability of small farmers and for those in marginal areas, there needs to be a clear shift in policy terms.
“The network of family farms must be recognised as the backbone of our rural communities and creative solutions, such as those presented by the Leitrim Organic Growers Association, should be supported here in Ireland and Europe in order to ensure the future viability of family farms.”ENDS