Fianna Fáil has unveiled a new agriculture policy aimed at creating a more level playing field for farmers. The document, “Securing Fair Prices and Increased Profitability for Farmers” is committed to protecting and developing agriculture for farmers in the North West and right across the country.
Cllr. Scanlon explained, “Farmers in the North West have been getting a raw deal under this Government. Over the past 4 years Fine Gael and Labour have imposed changes to essential rural programmes like the Farm Assist Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme. Combined with falling prices and the ongoing problem with nomad cattle, farmers have seen their incomes drastically reduced, with many struggling to keep their businesses viable.
“Fianna Fáil’s plan will offer farmers a genuine opportunity to grow and expand and to contribute to a world class agri-food business at home and abroad. Minister Simon Coveney’s passive approach towards the major processors and retailers has seen farmers and primary producers losing out to a small number of dominant players who have been allowed to set prices and control the market. We will see a Groceries Code Adjudicator established to oversee the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers. It will ensure that producers are treated fairly and will be given legislative powers to act if the guidelines are flouted.
“Beef farmers have fallen victim to the demands of processors and large retailers and have been subjected to low prices. This must be addressed. The beef genomics scheme has been a complete shambles – with almost one fifth of eligible farmers refusing to sign up to it because it is so flawed. The large amount of red tape and the six year rule makes it extremely undesirable. Fianna Fáil is committed to improving the scheme by relaxing the clawback clause as well as increasing payments to €200 on the first 20 cows and €100 on all cows after that.
“Movements on restrictions imposed by factories must also be made to guarantee a fairer price for farmers. The 30 month age restriction is artificial and should be replaced by a 36 month restriction, which is more suitable to Irish beef production. We also want to see the “nomad” status abolished so that all beef born and bred on the island of Ireland can be sold as Irish beef.
“The family farm model, which is at the heart of Irish agriculture, must be protected. Fianna Fáil supports family farms and through the initiatives detailed in our new agriculture policy we will strive to ensure that farmers are the price makers not the price takers”.