‘Farmers want to do the right thing’: ASSAP report ‘encouraging’

The collaborative efforts of the Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advisory Programme (ASSAP) to engage with farmers and the wider community to improve the quality of water bodies is encouraging, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

The ASSAP programme is part of a wider Government and community effort to improve water quality in 190 selected water bodies around the country by reducing agricultural and non-agricultural pressures.

The IFA’s National Environment Committee chairman Paul O’Brien reacted to the publication of the ASSAP interim report on Friday, June 19.

Commenting, O’Brien said: “Farmers want to do the right thing, and the fact that farmer engagement with the programme has reached 96% is evidence of this.

The report shows a net improvement of 16.7% in water quality in water bodies that were prioritised areas for action.

“It demonstrates that farmers are committed to building on environmental actions – and this needs to be fairly reflected in any future eco-schemes.”

Continuing, the chairman said: “A key element of the ASSAP programme is that, once an issue is identified, the team provides practical solutions to remedy the problem.

“I am optimistic about the future of the programme. The collaborative support and input from multiple factors in the sector are key and gives reassurance to farmers,” O’Brien concluded.