Fine Gael must revise food production strategy in wake of crisis
The Green Party has called on the government to revise its food production strategy in light of the current fodder shortages, which are causing huge distress on many Irish farms.
Speaking today, Green Party Spokesperson on Agriculture Pippa Hackett said: “Unfortunately, it will be the farmer who will ultimately carry the costs from this crisis, whether in terms of increased costs of production, or loss of revenue from loss of stock through death, or having to sell stock prematurely. Smaller farms will probably feel the pinch most of all.
“Climate change is not a new phenomenon, yet the widely circulated concerns on what it means for our weather systems, and for farming in this country, have not been listened to. Successive Governments have continually ignored the advice of the world’s climate scientists, and we find ourselves yet again in the plight of a fodder shortage.
“This Government needs to step up to the mark left in wake of their failings to heed these climate warnings, and provisions must be put in place to support the farmers struggling to feed their stock. Compensatory payments could be considered to those farmers having to sell stock to cope with this situation. Knock on effects may not be seen for some time, especially if farmers have to give serious consideration to budgeting for a six-month winter.
“The Government’s food production strategies (Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025) have been a disaster for our environment, and for our farmers. Increasing our food production will increase our climate emissions. It cannot be done without nitrogen derogations. Our water quality is deteriorating. Our biodiversity and soil fertility is in decline. Our animals are suffering. These strategies are failing our farmers too, who are forced to compete on price in world beef and dairy markets, when we should be carving out a niche market for our premium food produce.
“Where are the government incentives to encourage farmers to engage in more climate appropriate farming practices, ones that do not place them in such dire straits? Where are the strategies to open up other routes to more lucrative markets? To plough on in the same furrow year after year, decade after decade, is a disservice to our farmers, their animals, and our environment.”