Ferris expresses concern over falling farm incomes
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD, has voiced his concern at statistics which reveal that farm incomes here fell by 15% in 2006. The statistics, released today by the Central Statistics Office, indicate that the main causes of the decline are falling milk prices and a steep increase in the cost of energy.
The Kerry North TD said: "I recently referred to EU statistics regarding falling incomes here and these latest figures confirm that farmers are under severe pressure to make ends meet. One of the key factors has been a steep rise in energy costs and I have been critical of the increases granted by the Energy Regulator to Bord Gáis and the ESB.
"The other main factor is the downward pressure on milk prices with a clear effort on the part of the main processors to further reduce the share of the price charged to consumers that accrues to the farmer.
"On a general policy level, falling incomes demonstrate that the current Government has no strategy to enable Irish farmers to make the transition to the new era brought about by the most recent CAP reforms. Decoupling could provide a level of income security but not in a situation where there are even stronger forces undermining farmers incomes in the market place."