18 Feb 2011
PARTY LEADERS TO ADDRESS IFA EXECUTIVE COUNCILOireachtas
The leaders of the main political parties – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour – will address a specially-convened IFA Executive Council next Monday (Feb 21<sup>st</sup>) to present their vision for the agriculture sector and to hear first hand from farm leaders the challenges and opportunities ahead. The leaders will be challenged for their commitment to defend the agri-food sector and the session will coincide with the last of the 30 IFA County Executive meetings which have been held in every rural constituency.
IFA President John Bryan said the <i>Food Harvest 2020 </i>targets of increasing farmgate output by €1.5bn and growing exports by 50% to €12bn are achievable if the next Government pursues policies at home and in Europe that provide the right framework for farming.
At the meeting John Bryan will be highlighting the importance of safeguarding all farm schemes to encourage sustainable production. “There must be an AEOS scheme for farmers leaving REPS and the appropriate reliefs and other incentives must remain in place to facilitate expansion and restructuring.”
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>.”
“The next Government must also address the country’s competitiveness. For example, there must be no further increase in the carbon tax and a serious reduction in red tape.”
Concluding, Mr Bryan said, “Over 250,000 farm family voters will be taking a keen interest in the responses from the political party leaders.”