11 Feb 2011
IFA ORGANISES MEETINGS WITH GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATESOireachtas
The Irish Farmers Association is organising meetings across the country in the next fortnight, at which farm families will challenge General Election candidates for their commitment to defend agriculture. Meetings will be held in every rural constituency, with the first of the 30 meetings taking place next Monday, February 14<sup>th</sup> in Cavan, Roscommon/South Leitrim and Kerry.
IFA President John Bryan has encouraged all members to turn out and hear what the candidates and political parties in their constituency have to say about the future of agriculture and the policies they intend to pursue.
He said the <i>Food Harvest 2020 </i>targets of increasing farmgate output by €1.5bn and growing exports by 50% to €12bn will only be achieved if the next Government pursues policies at home and in Europe that provide the right framework for farming. “To build on the 10% increase in exports in 2010, all farm schemes must be safeguarded to encourage sustainable production. The appropriate reliefs and other incentives must remain in place to facilitate expansion and restructuring.”
John Bryan said, “Farm families have firmly set their sights on further growth so that our agri-food sector can realise its full potential to meet the rising global demand for food. However, escalating input costs are a real worry for the sector and the new Government must address the country’s competitiveness. For example, there must be no further increase in the carbon tax, as this would cause more damage to the exporting, farming and food sector.”
Mr Bryan said the negotiations around the CAP post-2013 will intensify this year and the new Government must ensure that Ireland retains 100% of our Single Farm Payment for active farmers. “On Mercosur, IFA will be insisting on strong opposition to any bilateral trade deal between the EU and South American countries as it would devastate our beef sector and destroy our prospects of achieving the potential identified in <i>Food Harvest</i>.”
Concluding, Mr Bryan said, “Over 250,000 farm family voters will be taking a keen interest in the responses to IFA’s submission from the political parties and candidates at local and national level