Analysis undertaken by IFA outlines agriculture’s importance to the economy at county level, and underlines the critical importance of farm schemes in underpinning agriculture’s continued contribution to the economic recovery.
IFA President Eddie Downey stated that it was vital that funding for the Rural Development Programme (RDP) is delivered in this October’s budget. He said, “The analysis clearly shows the importance of farm schemes and direct payments for farm income. The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney must fight for the allocation of €500m plus of funding for RDP farm schemes in the Budget at the Cabinet table in the coming weeks. This funding will be critical to ensure the opening of the GLAS scheme, with payments in 2015, full payment of the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, discussion group funding and funding for on-farm investment across all sectors through the TAMS”.
IFA Chief Economist Rowena Dwyer said the analysis, which is based on the most up-to-date data available from the CSO, Department of Agriculture, Teagasc, and Bord Bia, demonstrates how important agriculture is to rural economies, and the role it can play in mitigating the threat of a two-speed economic recovery.
She stated, “While there is a strong awareness of the contribution of agriculture to the Irish economy, supporting upwards of 300,000 jobs and underpinning agri-food exports in excess of €10bn, the role that agriculture plays in the economy outside of large urban areas and on a local basis is of even greater importance. The analysis undertaken by the IFA highlights the importance of a strong agriculture sector in each county, providing employment and generating output not just in farming itself but in the thousands of regionally based jobs dependent on and linked to the sector”.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Flor McCarthy continued “Despite its strong economic contribution, the agriculture sector remains a low-income sector, with many farmers, particularly in the livestock, tillage and potato sectors experiencing a very difficult 2014. In this October’s budget, it is critical that the Government recognises the importance of agriculture and provides support to enable it to continue to deliver employment and export growth”.
He concluded, “The IFA analysis clearly demonstrates the importance of a strong agriculture sector to thousands of families. The Government must show its commitment to the restoration of a viable rural economy in this year’s Budget”