Important meeting for farmers in Athlone on September 8th

ICSA Roscommon chairman Ger Grehan, right,  has said that farmers are not getting a fair share of the retail price paid for their produce. This is just one of the issues Mr Grehan wishes to address at an upcoming ICSA regional public meeting to be held in the Athlone Springs Hotel on Thursday, 8
September 2016 at 8pm. Other items
on the agenda include flooding, live exports and the implications of Brexit on the farming sector.

            An impressive line-up of guest speakers has been confirmed:  Denis Naughten, TD (Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Natural Resources); Matt Carthy, MEP; Kevin Boxer Moran, TD; Michael Fitzmaurice, TD; Micheal Maxwell (Live Exporter); Eddie Punch (ICSA General Secretary).

            Mr Grehan said “We want to send a strong message to government and to the EU Commission that we need urgent action to deal with the crisis in farming. Virtually all farm commodity prices are below the cost of production. We as farmers can’t continue producing food year after year without any degree of certainty as to what price we are going to achieve at farm gate level. Legislation needs to be enacted to ensure farmers get a fairer share of the retail price.”

             Continuing Mr Grehan said “Everybody except the farmer is making a decent living out of what we produce. In the last CAP reform any farmer receiving EU payments over €270/ha is seeing their payment go down steadily in five steps from 2015 to 2019. We as producers are left totally dependent on EU payments for our net income, and on many of our farms we cannot even retain all of those payments as net income. This is certainly not sustainable long term, we can’t maintain and grow a business in the long term or expect young people to enter the sector with such a bleak outlook. Farmers are the primary producers that put in all the hard work, put in all their money and carry all the risk. While food doesn’t need to get any more expensive, the powers that be need to wake up and ensure fair play for farmers. Our EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan stated sometime back that he was going to introduce new EU rules to the effect that would enable the primary producer, namely the farmer, get a fairer share of the retail price. In addition, he said he wanted to tackle the powers of the supermarkets and the meat processors. However, we still await those changes.”

             In conclusion, Mr Grehan said “Successive governments have told us we need to increase production to feed the expected growth in world population. It is expected there will be an extra one billion people in the world over the next 20 years or so. Thus, the government came up with the slogan of Food Harvest 2020 to increase production. When met those targets early they came up with a new slogan of Food Wise 2025 to further increase production. The message we want to send back to government loud and clear should be ‘Survival 2020’ for the farmer. When we have overproduction in any commodity farm wise or in other areas, there is only one way price goes and that is downwards. We in ICSA believe that what we need to do is control production so that the government will wake up and ensure a fairer deal for the farmers of Ireland and indeed Europe.”