Sunday 20 October 2019

IFA reject farmers' grant claims

A WEXFORD farmer has responded to an editorial in last week's edition of this paper which questioned the effectiveness of grants when it comes to developing the agriculture industry and food production in Ireland.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney recently told the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) that they cannot expect to be exempt from cutbacks in the painful series of Budgets that are coming down the track, with farmer's arguing these cuts will undermine future agricultural production.

Last week's editorial, which argued that farmers need to be weaned off the grant mentality and develop a more forward thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that will allow them unlock the potential of their land and achieve growth targets, something that numerous grants have failed to achieve.

However, Duncormick farmer Michael Doran, the IFA's National Livestock Chairman, said that the most relevant point in the editorial was that the average farm income is less than €18,000 per year.

'This figure, which is less than half the average industrial wage, illustrates the importance of supports such as the Single Farm Payment to farm families,' said Mr Doran.

'Other facts that could have given your readers a greater understanding of agriculture's contribution to the economy include that agriculture generates output worth €24 billion; the wider agri-food sector supports over 300,000 jobs, and that food exports are worth over €8 billion and have outperformed all other sectors this year.

'In Wexford, farming and the food industry is an important part of the local economy. A UCD Study published in June showed that €100 of agricultural output produces an additional €73 of output,' said Mr Doran.

'Your editorial fails to make the connection between production at farm level and the significant contribution farming makes to the wider economy. Without the supports, the growth targets you mention will not be met,' he concluded.

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