Commenting on the excellent performance of food exports for 2014, IFA President Eddie Downey said the sector delivered for the economy in terms of extra output and jobs, but the harsh reality is that it is not delivering farm profitability and this has to happen in 2015.
Eddie Downey said, “It is essential that other stakeholders in the agri-food industry take responsibility for delivering measures that will underpin the long-term sustainability of the primary agriculture sector. This must include increased price transparency across the food supply chain, greater bargaining powers for primary producers, and real actions to tackle input costs.
“In addition, there must be a renewed focus on not just increasing sustainability, but also successfully marketing this competitive advantage to deliver a premium throughout the supply chain for Irish products and ingredients”.
Mr Downey said, “The importance of Direct Payments in underpinning farm incomes and production, and as an important counter-measure to volatility must also be recognised. A significant contribution to the income difficulties in farming in recent years has been the fall in Direct Payments since 2008, particularly from the Rural Development Programme. We must target the full utilisation of available EU and national funding for the sector, and the development of a coherent policy to support the retention of maximum funding in future CAP reforms”.