Speaking at the opening of the Iverk Agricultural and Horticulture show in Piltown today, Liam Aylward MEP, observed that against the background of severe changes in the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), consumers and European leaders need to be made aware of the “immeasurable value of agriculture in ensuring food security, protecting the environment and ensuring that Ireland has a vibrant, sustainable and successful agricultural sector and rural communities where people can live, work, and enjoy a sense of community”.
The Ireland East MEP and member of the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development drew attention to the fact that farming, long over shadowed and under appreciated, has re-emerged as Ireland’s most valuable indigenous sector and is the cornerstone of economic revival.
“There are close to 140,000 family farms in Ireland and the dedication and respect shown by Irish farmers to sustainable farming, traditional skills and their commitment to quality and excellence are the backbone of the success of Ireland’s agri-food industry.
“Ireland’s agri-food exports were close to €9billion last year and with proper planning and management the sector will continue to flourish.
“Agriculture will lead Ireland’s growth and economic growth but it is clear that a strong, fair and workable European CAP, which delivers a fair income for fair work for active farmers and ensures the survival and ethos of rural communities, is needed.”
Commending the show, its organisers and the volunteers, the Ireland East MEP concluded: “The Piltown show is synonymous with showcasing the depth and wealth of traditions, skills and values that exist in our farming and rural communities. As the oldest show in Ireland, it is steeped in tradition with a strong focus on the values that ensure rural communities continue to be vibrant, inclusive and sustainable.”