Ferris: What is EU vision for family farming after 2013?
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has questioned the commitment of the EU to family farming in the light of statements made yesterday by Farm Commissioner Mariann Fischer. Among other things, Commissioner Fischer said that milk quotas would most likely disappear when the current CAP package comes up for review in 2013. She also stressed that dairy farmers would need to decide soon whether to ‘adapt’ or to leave the industry.
The Kerry North TD said: “Coming as it does after the ‘Agri Vision 2015’ report that forecast a decline of over 30,000 farms by 2015 – with just one third of those being viable – and with just 15,000 dairy farmers, it is vital that the EU outlines what its vision for the future of farming is. Does the ‘European model of farming’ based on family farms still mean anything, or is the EU happy to allow a situation in which market forces reduce numbers to a small core of large-scale operations?
“That would appear to be the implication of Commissioner Fischer’s remarks. If so, then it is vital that the EU is open about this and that the implications of this are recognised and fully debated within the sector here. There are opportunities for small to medium farms not only to survive but to prosper under the new conditions but this will require a far more imaginative approach by the Irish Government and a more pro-active stance by Irish Ministers in relation to future EU plans for the sector.”