Figures on farm income decrease no surprise – Kenny
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Kenny TD who represents Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and South Donegal, said today that the decline in farm income shown in the Teagasc National Farm Survey comes as no surprise to those living in rural Ireland.
Deputy Kenny said:
“Not everyone in rural Ireland is a farmer, but when farming is not going well, rural areas are not going well. This average farm income drop of nine percent last year to €24,060, is indicative of the reality of life for farm families. There is no recovery in rural Ireland.
“Even though there are increased EU direct payments, farm incomes are dropping. Farmers are under pressure. Many of them are having to work off-farm, or have a working spouse to make ends meet.
“If we look at the income for an average cattle farm, it is just under €13,000 per annum. Someone on the dole would be receiving nearly €10,000 and that is just not good enough. The Irish beef farmer is producing a product of the highest quality and value, but he is not receiving the benefit of that.
“We are all aware of the volatility of the market, but farmers must be supported to get a fair price for their produce. Why is it that Irish beef, as just one example of the Irish Agri-food sector, is only getting the same price as beef produced in industrialised settings in Europe?
“Government must market and promote the fact that Irish meat comes from grass-fed, free-roaming animals and is of far superior quality to what is the norm in Europe. The same can be said of Irish dairy produce and lamb.
“The survival of the family farm is essential to the social fabric of this nation. Farmers must be supported to get top price to make their labour worthwhile and to provide for themselves and their families.”