The Green Party is calling on the implementation of a land use plan to “turn the tide on depressed prices for our primary producers”, arguing that a “business as usual approach with a few cherries on top will not suffice”.

Senator Pippa Hacket, the party’s spokesperson on agriculture, was speaking after meeting with protesters in Dublin city centre yesterday, Wednesday, November 27.

She acknowledged that “food production will always remain central to our land use”, but she argued “we must consider ways of adding real value to that product, and paying our farmers for public goods such as a carbon storage, water and air quality, and of course for biodiversity”.

A new land use plan is required to deal with the crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss, and also to turn the tide on depressed prices for our primary producers. Farmers will be relying heavily on a significantly reformed CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] to deliver the essential transitions and opportunities for their farms.

“The agri-food system is broken in this country. From inside the farmgate all the way through to the consumer. Creating a consistently high demand for Irish food, while at the same time addressing our environmental commitments should be at the heart of any effective solution for the Irish agri-food sector,” Hackett argued.

She continued: “We expect a lot from our farmers, we expect them to adhere to rules and regulations, to engage with policy makers and legislators in reducing emissions and improving biodiversity…yet when they face significant difficulties, as is seen at the present time, they are left with little or no support.”

Our farmers are caught between a rock and a hard place, with few options, and no proper supports to improve farm incomes. 

Hackett commented that, among the farmers she spoke to, “the sense of frustration and despair has heightened”.

“The promises made in the beef talks in September have not resulted in a successful outcome for these farmers, and they are back out on the streets,” she highlighted.