Middlemen cream off high margins, but farmers don’t benefit – Kenny
Speaking from his constituency today, Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson, Martin Kenny TD, said the response of the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to his question on low farm incomes was inadequate and disingenuous.
Deputy Kenny said:
“The Teagasc figures showing that the average farm income last year was only €24,000, a decrease of nine per cent since 2015, which indicates a significant crisis for the majority of Irish farmers. The Minister’s response in the Dáil yesterday when I raised this was to point out that 64% of farms are classified as part-time.
“The reason that two-thirds of farms are part-time is because incomes are so low that people cannot make ends meet without working off-farm. The minister likes to suggest that this is a choice.
“When I asked what were the plans in the Department to support farmers and increase farm income, his response was to point to direct payments from the EU and the Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme.
“Meanwhile, Irish meat and dairy produce is of such a high quality that it should be fetching top price on the market. There is a job to be done in the promotion of such agri-food produce in the top-class and top price range and that price should be reflected in the price that the primary producer, the farmer, receives for his hard work.
“It is not good enough that the middlemen can cream off high margins and that the consumer pays top price, but the farmer is not benefitting. We see the government again gives ‘market’ priority over the well-being of citizens. We see it in the housing crisis and we see it in unwillingness to tackle monopolies and ensure that the farmer is treated fairly.”