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Sinn Féin welcome slight increase in farm incomes

31 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson has welcomed the slight overall increase in farm incomes but warned that much of this has been driven by increased borrowing within the milk sector and that the useful resolution of the Beef Ban is still a top priority.

Ms Gildernew said:

"We should all welcome the fact that incomes have seen a very modest increase, particularly given the very difficult trading conditions, with increases in oil costs we might have expected a decline across all of the sectors.

"The majority of the increase is within the dairy sector, and this is due to increased output. However, Dairy farmers have had to dramatically expand their business to be able to stay cost efficient. This has resulted in many of them borrowing heavily for quota, farm buildings and animals. If these dairy farmers do not very soon begin to see an increase in farm gate milk prices the recent expansion and cost savings will diminish.

"In the coming weeks the our agricultural industry's hopes will be put to the test in the European Commission on getting a successful conclusion to a removal of the Beef export ban. This together with the possibility of a return of local Ministers should give the Agricultural industry some hope of selling a world-class product with the dynamic of a working Assembly behind them." ENDS

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