In a meeting with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin, IFA President John Bryan has set out the funding priorities for farming in 2012.
Mr Bryan said, “Agriculture is growing, with the potential to further deliver economic growth, but can only continue on this path if properly supported. This means the maintenance of funding for vital farm schemes, including REPS/AEOS, Disadvantaged Areas and the Suckler Cow Scheme. The sector also requires funding to ensure the implementation and continuation of vital investment programmes at farm level in forestry, aquaculture and in the wider agri-food sector.”
He continued, “The proposed spending cut for the agriculture budget of over 20% between 2011 and 2012 is simply unacceptable. This is in marked contrast to other Government Departments, for which there is an average reduction of 4% projected in 2012.”
John Bryan said the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review, which has been undertaken by the Minister’s Department, must be a revised funding allocation for agriculture in 2012, providing sufficient funding for farm schemes and investment programmes.
Mr Bryan said, “While there is positive growth in agriculture, farming remains a low-income sector, with average Farm Income less than €18,000. Any further cuts in farm schemes in the Agriculture Budget will have a damaging effect on primary agriculture, undermining production and the overall growth potential of the agri-food sector.”
“In making difficult decisions about scarce resources, Government must support the sectors that are growing and have the potential to further contribute to our economic recovery. Agriculture has clearly demonstrated this potential,” he concluded.