The EU has failed those farming in disadvantaged areas - Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West and member of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Matt Carthy has today hosted a successful conference on the theme of Farming in Peripheral areas.
The well attended conference took place in Milford, Co Donegal and was addressed by political representatives, farming organisations and European speakers with expertise in the subject area.
Closing the conference today, the Sinn Féin MEP said:
"I would like to thank those who attended the conference today, in particular the wide range of speakers who were all very passionate and knowledgeable on the relevant issues affecting farmers in marginal areas.
"It has become apparent throughout the discussions that the European Union has failed to address the needs of small farmers and there is a clear need for a change of direction in order to ensure the future of smaller farmers.
"One statistic that stood out to me in particular from today is the fact that 80% of Common Agricultural Payments are paid to the 20% of farmers responsible for 27% of production.
"To me this is a clear indication that the current approach of policy makers is failing on both fronts - failing in terms of supporting the production of food and also failing to ensure the viability of family farms.
"The family farm is the foundation of rural communities the breadth of this island and the survival of the family farm network is absolutely critical to the sustainability of rural communities.
"The simple fact of the matter is that the emphasis at EU level on mass production, competitiveness, regulation and industrialisation of farming has meant that many smaller farmers have become increasingly disillusioned with the direction of the EU.
"It is time to step up to the plate and ensure equitable treatment of all sections of our farming communities - many of the proposals outlined by the various speakers today are practical, constructive and workable and I look forward to raising them at the earliest opportunity with my European colleagues."