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Ferris expresses concern over report on farming

25 April, 2006


The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has expressed concern over the implications of a report written by Trinity College economists on the future of agriculture in Ireland. The report, by Alan Matthews and Janine Dixon, forecasts a decline of over 9% in output and 13% in farm numbers within the next decade.

 Deputy Ferris said: “While it was generally accepted that there would be some decline in farm numbers and in certain production areas following the introduction of the Single Farm Payment, many of us hoped that CAP reform would have heralded a more imaginative and dynamic strategy on behalf of the state to ensure that the decline in family farming was arrested, and that new areas of production were opened up, free of the need to produce in order to draw down subsidies.

“Unfortunately, the current Government appears content to allow the trend of the past 30 years to continue unchecked. While intervention may require interference with the market, that has been the case anyway, and indeed underlies the commitment of the EU to the European model of farming which recognizes the importance of family farming beyond it being an economic factor.

“The Government needs to promote new strategies that will sustain rural communities through food production and processing. This country has far from exhausted the possibilities for economic growth based on these. It must also encourage the production of energy crops as an input to the production of bio-fuels. Again, a means to both sustain farms and to provide off farm employment. All of this must be addressed as part of a radical new strategy to meet the challenges outlined in this report.” ENDS

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