Casey: ‘The bad news is many farmers are only subsisting’

EU parliamentary candidate Peter Casey has recently highlighted that “the bad news for farmers is that many are only subsisting”.

The Co. Donegal businessman who ran for President of Ireland in 2018 noted that, last year, average farm incomes declined by 15%.

The former Dragons’ Den personality has also said that he is committed to “winning a fairer deal for farmers”. He said that he will achieve this by fighting in Europe for an increased Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget.

The CAP budget must be increased to account for inflation and to compensate our farmers for any additional requirements imposed on them by the newly reformed policy.

Casey said that, if elected, he is committed to “battling tooth and nail to secure a better deal for farmers and rural Ireland”.

“All of our MEPs must step up to the plate in solidarity to campaign for a better deal during the new term,” he stressed.

Casey also drew attention to the figures associated with the agricultural industry in Ireland. He said: “Farmers are the backbone of our rural economy; they are huge exporters who shop locally to the benefit of our local communities.

174,000 people are directly employed in agriculture across our nation; they produce exports valued at more than €13 billion, generating 22% of all industry gross output.

“They face many difficulties – not least as a result of Brexit. I am backing calls for a special-purpose package from Europe to offset Brexit losses incurred by farmers.

“These include emergency EU market disturbance supports, targeted direct producer payments, long-term structural adjustment support and the setting aside of state-aid limits.

Should we find ourselves in a no-deal Brexit situation, there must be provision for an immediate EU aid package to support our farmers and safeguard the presence of their produce on UK shelves.

“It is also important that any EU aid takes account for currency devaluations arising from a weakened pound.

“Our farmers deserve a fairer deal and I am committed to fighting in Europe as MEP for Midlands-North West to ensure they get it,” he concluded.