Government and EU must assist farmers in crisis and ensure fair prices - Mac Lochlainn
Sinn Féin Seanad Spokesperson on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn today called on the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to work with the Irish Government to assist farmers in crisis and to ensure a fair price from the big food processors and multiples supermarkets for our primary producers.
Commissioner Hogan was appearing before the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee to address the issues facing Irelands farming community and the threat of Brexit to the Agri-food sector.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said:
“I brought to Commissioner Hogan’s attention today the reality for so many in our farming community across this State. From tillage farmers to dairy farmers and from the beef to the sheep sectors, there is a real crisis. While the poor weather this year and the devaluation of the sterling currency have made things worse, the common denominator in all of this is the poor price that our farmers; our primary producers are getting for their produce.
“I challenged the Commissioner to step up to the place on ensuring that the big food processors and multiples supermarkets are held to account on prices. The real solution to this in a single European market lies with the European Union and Commission.
“In response, Commissioner Hogan referred to the ongoing work of the EU's ‘Agricultural Markets Task Force’ currently examining how farmers can be assisted in dealing with the impacts of price volatility and currency fluctuations. The Task Force is to report back soon with their findings and recommendations.
“Sinn Féin will await those findings but we will continue to demand price regulation with teeth of these profiteering sectors.
“I also took the opportunity to call on the Commissioner, working in partnership with the Irish government to provide more financial aid and assistance to our farming sectors in real crisis.”