Europe could to more to support Ireland’s small family farms was MEP Liam Aylward’s message from the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Ireland East MEP oversaw the adoption of a report in the European Parliament this week on small agricultural holdings.

Speaking from Strasbourg, the Kilkenny man stressed said small and family farms are the life blood of rural areas, providing a livelihood for millions across Europe.

“It must be recognised in this United Nations International Year of Family Farming that small and family farms play a key role in the delivery of public goods, the protection of biodiversity and the production of high-quality products.

“While the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) may address some of the issues facing family farms it is clear from consultation with farmers and farming groups that there is real concern on the ground for the sustainability of smaller holdings in more peripheral areas and that more needs to be done at EU and national level to ensure their survival.”

The MEP for Ireland East negotiated recommendations in this report to build on the CAP’s recent reform and address concerns, including calling for the red tape and administrative burden facing small farmers to be reassessed and cut back.