Irish Family Farming 'Under Pressure' - IFA

The Irish and European tradition of family farming is under "unprecedented pressure" according to the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

IFA President Eddie Downey made the comments as he was speaking this week at an international conference in Dublin organised by IFA and Teagasc to celebrate the UN International Year of Family Farming.

"Irish farm families, like those all over the world, do a vital job and play a pivotal role in the economic wellbeing of rural communities where agriculture represents the backbone of their economies," he said.

"Every family in Ireland and across the globe depends on the output of family farms for their very being and today is an opportunity for everyone to recognise this and to draw attention to the fact that food security can no longer be taken for granted."

Mr Downey said a combination of extreme price volatility, escalating input costs, reduced EU support in real terms for productive farming, inequity in the food supply chain and an "assortment of costly political and societal bureaucratic interference is sapping income and profitability out of family farming."

He said there was a need for "real action" at UN, European and Irish political level to restore equity in the food supply chain as input costs have risen by over 50% in the last 10 years, without being matched with increases for farm produce.

"Political and other interference at EU level means family farms are unable to compete with other global regions on a level playing pitch. For example, European family farms are denied the use of certain production technologies, but have to compete with farmers all over the world who have access to these technologies, and a much lower cost base. This is no longer sustainable," he said.


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