Speaking following a constructive meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, IFA President John Bryan highlighted the importance of agriculture and food to the Irish economy, and the crucial role direct payments play in underpinning production, jobs and economic activity.
The IFA Leader emphasised the importance of continued Government support for agriculture, as the sector provides value for money and delivers a real return for Ireland and the rural economy. The IFA President presented the recent IFA-commissioned UCD study, The Importance of Agriculture and the Food Industry to the Irish Economy, to the Taoiseach, which identifies the significant role the sector plays in sustaining production and jobs in every town and parish across the country.
He said “It is therefore vital that Government supports and tax reliefs for farmers are protected in the next Budget. Mr Bryan pointed out to the Taoiseach the devastating impact of previous cuts, the closure of REPS 4 and the watered down AEOS scheme were having on farmers, and in particular those who are endeavouring to make a living from farming on Western seaboard counties.
Mr Bryan welcomed the Taoiseach’s strong commitment to defend the funds that Ireland receives through the EU CAP budget post-2013, as it is of crucial importance in underpinning agricultural production, supporting farm incomes and driving growth in the agri-food sector and wider rural economy. In addition the importance of resisting a damaging Mercosur trade deal was discussed.
The IFA President said “the Taoiseach’s determination to improve Irish business competitiveness and bureaucracy must be matched by Government action. IFA will be making a detailed submission to the Taoiseach on cost and bureaucracy, which require urgent attention.”
Concluding the IFA President asked the Taoiseach to prioritise more equity in the food supply chain for primary producers as well as consumers in the proposed Grocery Code of Practice. He said “in particular retailers must be held responsible for the impact their pricing policies have on the viability of primary producers.”