Government policy ‘has to ensure level playing field’ for local tillage farmers

Government policy has got to “ensure a level playing field” for local tillage and horticulture farmers, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said.

The farm organisation was reacting to the Ag Climatise – A Roadmap towards Climate Neutrality – report published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Commenting, IFA Grain Committee chairman Mark Browne acknowledged the emphasis on increasing the tillage area in this country, and promoting the use of native grain and protein crops in livestock rations.

However, in order to achieve these goals, government actions and policy must support the sector, he asserted.

Some of the current proposals under the next CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] in relation to convergence and the administration of eco schemes will impact negatively on the tillage sector.

“In addition, the coupled protein payment needs to be increased, to encourage increased plantings of these crops,” he said.

“Irish tillage farmers continue to be undermined by substandard third country grain imports. Government policy has to ensure a level playing field for local producers,” he added.

IFA Horticulture Committee chairman Paul Brophy said if we are to avail of opportunities in the horticulture sector, then issues concerning labour availability and peat extraction must be addressed immediately.

He added that the government must fast-track the position of National Food Ombudsman in order to tackle the unfair trading practices and the dominant position of the major retailers.