POPULATION MILESTONE IS REMINDER ABOUT FOOD SECURITY – IFA

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POPULATION MILESTONE IS REMINDER ABOUT FOOD SECURITY - IFA
01 Nov 2011

POPULATION MILESTONE IS REMINDER ABOUT FOOD SECURITY – IFA

Economics

As the United Nations marks the world population reaching seven billion, IFA President John Bryan has warned political leaders in Europe and at home about the fragile nature of food security. He said, “This milestone for the number of people living on the plant should serve as a reminder that sustainable food production should be supported. Policy decisions in the years ahead must be targeted at those regions that can expand to meet rising global food demand.”

John Bryan said, “In Ireland, we have a low-carbon model of food production that also provides significant social and environmental benefits to the wider society. Currently, we feed 35 million people. With the right conditions, we can play an increasing role in feeding the world’s population. Growth targets have been set down, but these will only be achieved if we maintain the framework that encourages production at farm level. The drift of the current CAP proposals is at odds with this, and could be very damaging to the agri-food sector.”

The IFA President said it would be a grave mistake to implement a range of regulations that would undermine the productive capacity of Irish farming. “Our fear is that the EU Commission is intent on making changes for the sake of it. For example, the greening proposals will create many constraints for farmers, particularly grain growers, increase compliance and production costs and reduce competitiveness. They have the potential to decimate grain production in Ireland while increasing our dependence on more expensive imports.”

Mr Bryan said, “Domestically, the Government cannot overlook the importance of farm schemes in underpinning farm incomes and acting as a stimulus to on-farm production. The strong performance of food exports this year can be built upon with sustainable expansion. The danger is that we will miss the opportunity if there is a cut in funding for farm schemes.”

Concluding, John Bryan said, “Reaching the seven billion mark in world population provides an exciting challenge for an agricultural producer such as Ireland. Any intervention by policymakers has to be constructive and must not stifle our expansion.”

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