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Sinn Féin urge far reaching roll out of green farming power

3 October, 2005

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that the development of a renewable energy programme for farmers would not only benefit farmers but would also help to met environmental targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the dependency on the unstable fossils fuels markets.

Ms Gildernew said:

"The debate about the high costs of fuel has led many to focus on the potential of Bio Fuels. It is vital that any new renewable energy strategy should develop this potential.

"The huge potential in bio-fuels is both in having greater control over energy costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in creating new opportunities for farmers.

"At present the small-scale nature of Bio-fuel production and the economies of scale required to making processing crops economically viable it is clear that a coming together, on an island wide basis, to develop processing capacity is essential.

"Government can support this through reducing the tax duties imposed on Bio-fuel production and also by assisting farmer co-ops in building the necessary refineries. Co-op led processing is the best way to safeguard farmers interests. With the jobs that would be safeguarded on farms, alongside those created in the refining process, any tax reduction in Bio-fuel duty would be re-gained in other economic activity.

"Across Europe many thousands of farmers are sustained through Bio Fuels. They can give farmers an opportunity to add more competition, and flexibility in where they sell their crops and help them to regain greater economic control over their futures." ENDS

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