In his inaugural address to the 61st annual meeting of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) at the Irish Farm Centre in Dublin, newly-elected president Joe Healy said that tackling the farm income crisis would be his number one priority.
“Fifty years after the Farmers’ Rights Campaign, IFA still has a really important job to do farmers. I want to thank farmers for their support and I am asking for their continued strong support of IFA,” Mr. Healy said.
“Farm Incomes will be top of my agenda when I meet the Minister for Agriculture. Politicians need to get serious and recognise that there is a real income crisis on Irish farms. I want to see a dedicated Minister with sole responsibility for Agriculture and Food in the new Government.”
Mr. Healy also pledged to bring trust, transparency and credibility to the heart of IFA and to strengthen governance and transparency.
He said that the single biggest challenge facing Irish agriculture was farm income.
He added: “2016 is proving to be an extremely difficult year and the reality is farm incomes are too low and unsustainable.
The president identified the immediate issues as product prices, retail regulation, input costs (with particular emphasis on IFA’s campaign on fertiliser) and the Mercosur trade deal.
“It is totally unacceptable that farmers, who do most of the work in producing high-quality food, are receiving a price below the cost of production.”