Speaking in advance of the publication of the Government’s four-year plan, IFA President John Bryan said the agriculture sector is in a pivotal position to help in the economic recovery through increased exports and job creation.
Mr Bryan said the farming sector has already been badly hit by severe cuts of almost €300m since the October 2008 Budget, and he warned that any further cuts would seriously damage the growth potential of the sector.
John Bryan said the farm schemes act as a key stimulus to primary production which underpins 250,000 jobs in the agri-food sector and exports of over €8bn. The Government’s Food Harvest 2020 Report has ambitious targets to increase output by up to 50%, which in turn will drive exports and jobs. Key to achieving these targets is to increase primary production, which will contribute significantly to economic growth.
The IFA President said that farm incomes are still under severe pressure and any cuts will have a significant impact on low-income farmers.
Concluding, the IFA President said, “not alone must the Government maintain all the existing schemes, but it should also look at what more needs to be done to support primary production so jobs and exports can be maximised.”