‘Agriculture could be left in the slow lane of economic recovery’

The Government must act to ensure that agriculture is not left behind as the economic recovery now impacting on Ireland’s economy as a whole gains momentum, according to IFA President Eddie Downey.

“I am deeply concerned that we are now seeing the evolution of a two-speed recovery with agriculture left in the slow lane,” he said.

“This must not be allowed to happen. The farming industry was to the fore in keeping the Irish economy afloat during the years of the recession: it is, therefore, important that producers enjoy the fruits of the recovery that is now underway.”

Downey made these comments while attending the recent IFA fertiliser conference. He said he wants to see a number of decisions taken both in Dublin and Brussels, which will copper fasten agriculture’s role at the heart of the Irish economy.

“Farmers must receive a much higher proportion of the monies coming in to the agri-food chain at the retail end,” he said.

“And this will require the appointment of a supermarket Ombudsman. The EU Commission must also act to simplify the new CAP measures. A case in point is the deep frustration felt by farmers regarding the new inspection procedures.

“Producers feel that they are helpless in discussing matters of this nature with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. We need a new Farmers’ Charter and this is an issue that we will be bringing up with Simon Coveney as a matter of priority.

Downey said that Budget 2016 must deliver for the farming industry.

“The Government must act to promote on-farm investment,” he said.

“The tax system must also be reviewed to recognise the challenges confronting farmers as self-employed businessman. This includes the introduction of five-year annual accounts averaging.

“There is also a requirement to encourage new entrants into farming and to facilitate greater numbers of lifetime transfers within the industry.”

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