IFA President John Bryan said cuts to farm schemes will hit farm families on the double and impact severely on farm incomes, and must be resisted by Minister Coveney at the Cabinet table in the run-up to the Budget on December 6th.
Mr Bryan said, “Farmers have already been hit hard in previous budgets with massive cuts to farm schemes, including the Disadvantaged Areas and Suckler Cow Schemes, the closure of REPS 4, and a reduction in the forestry premium. These cuts directly impacted on farm incomes, which at less than €18,000, are half the average industrial wage.”
He continued, “The Government, by promoting social solidarity in reassuring the social and public sectors, must also protect farm schemes, which are critical to thousands of low-income farm families. Government must target resources at those sectors that are growing. Agriculture is contributing to Ireland’s economic recovery, through increased output, jobs and exports. The farm schemes, which underpin farm incomes, are playing a vital role in this expansion.”
Mr Bryan said, “The funding allocation of €168m per annum for capital expenditure in agriculture set out in last week’s Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16 framework, is insufficient for the investment needed to achieve the growth targets of Food Harvest 2020. IFA estimate that a capital programme of €200m in 2012 is necessary to fund on-farm and processing investment, the forestry programme and other investment programmes.”
Concluding, he said, “The proposed capital funding for the next five years represents an increase on the previous Government’s proposals, and is recognition of the potential of the sector. However, more is needed.”