IFA President John Bryan said he is extremely concerned that rural Ireland is facing another ten years of economic stagnation and more emigration unless the Government brings forward a fully-funded Rural Development Programme 2014–2020.
The IFA estimate that the future viability of up to 50,000 farm families depends on the Government delivering a strong Rural Development Programme to underpin farm income, jobs and economic activity across rural Ireland. This is vital for balanced regional development in the country.
Mr Bryan said that recent CSO figures have categorised almost half of the increase in employment this year to the agricultural sector. This is good news, but in a clear warning to Minister Coveney and the Government, he said that a significant number of jobs would be lost in the years ahead unless 50/50 co-financing was provided for the Rural Development Programme.
He said agriculture must be underpinned by strong support for farm schemes, which are crucial for maintaining farm families in vulnerable sectors and regions.
John Bryan said that thousands of small businesses in towns and villages the length and breadth of rural Ireland depend on a vibrant agricultural sector. “They are watching anxiously and anything less than matching exchequer funding to the EU contribution will be seen as a further abandonment of rural Ireland by our Government.”