MEP seeks Crisis Aid for Irish Tillage Farmers
Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy has called for crisis aid from the Government and the EU for Irish tillage farmers who have been affected by crop loss due to the recent inclement weather and are in the midst of a deepening income crisis.
Carthy’s approach to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and EU Commissioner Phil Hogan, comes after a weekend visit to farmers in County Longford who have been affected by prolonged bad weather and reduced yield.
In a statement Matt Carthy said:
“Tillage farmers in Western areas, North and South, have been particularly affected by this situation, with over a third of crops going unharvested. This comes on top of a fourth consecutive harvest of low grain prices.
“Mounting losses in this sector have caused the cereal area in Ireland to fall by close to 100,000 acres since 2012. This is unsurprising, with Teagasc reporting that farmers are being offered prices as low as €116 per tonne, well below the €152 per tonne needed, just to break even.
“The Department of Agriculture must respond to these challenges and not sit by as our farmers struggle from one crisis to another.
“I have called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to recognise the investment that goes into these crops by farmers, who work from the assumption that at the end of a season, they will yield a return.
“I have also contacted EU Commissioner Phil Hogan asking him to act immediately in response to this crisis and to ensure that emergency aid be made available to Irish tillage farmers to prevent the imminent collapse of the sector.
“The economic cycle these farmers work from has been broken now not once, but twice, and if crisis aid is not made available quickly, we will soon witness the collapse of the sector completely.
“I have asked that the Minister for Agriculture and Commissioner Hogan work closely together so that an aid scheme can be established as fast as possible without breaching EU State Aid Rules.”