IFA President Tim Cullinan said there will be a strong family focus to the Save Irish Farming Rally in Dublin on Sun, Nov 21st.
“The farm family is the cornerstone on which the wider agri-food sector is built. Our event in Merrion Square on Sunday week will see different generations come to Dublin to interact with families outside the farming community,” he said.
“We want to send a positive message about what we do and how important that is in terms of producing high-quality food; supporting rural Ireland; and contributing to the Irish economy as a whole,” he said.
“Farm families are genuinely fearful about what the future holds. We hear all of these high-level targets being announced, but we have no clarity about what this will mean at farm level. I’m encouraging all farm families to come to Dublin on Nov 21st,” he said.
“Farmers have families too. They are very conscious of the climate challenge and the need for farmers to play their part. But it can’t decimate our incomes. It must provide a future that is economically and socially sustainable, as well as being environmentally sustainable,” he said.
“Recent Government policy proposals, including those on the CAP, are all about reducing production and adding cost. The CAP is there to support farmers to produce food. It cannot be expected to fund climate action as well. The Government needs to come forward with a proper plan, with proper funding behind it,” he said.
The event will highlight the importance of farming to the Irish economy, and it will also send a strong message to Government that they need to sit down with elected farm leaders to make an agreed plan for the sector.
“The farming and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country and contributed €13bn in exports in 2020. Outside of Dublin and the mid-east region, the sector provides between 10% and 14% of employment. This is being forgotten in a rush to sterilise Irish farming”.
“If we produce less food in Ireland, more will be produced in countries with a higher carbon footprint, which will increase global warming. We believe that with the right supports, we can reduce methane emissions by using available technologies but all this talk of cutting the so-called ‘national herd’ is really worrying farmers,” he said.
“We want to work with Government on climate action, but there has to be real engagement. Setting targets without any regard for the consequences, or any supports, won’t work,” he said.