Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has launched a 75-point, three-year action plan for the agriculture and fishing sectors, with a special focus on farm incomes.
Speaking on RTÉ on Wednesday 14 April, the minister said: “Everyone is very clear farming and agriculture has reached an important juncture and since I was appointed minister six months ago I’ve spent a lot of time listening and engaging with farmers.”
Under the section marked to “provide income and targeted supports to farmers”, the plan includes many items that are already in the pipeline, such as the delivery of farm payments on time and reopening the organic scheme.
It also includes the delivery of an on-farm biodiversity study and farm soil sampling programme in quarter three of this year.
“The key objective to it is firstly protecting family farm incomes, secondly delivering on environmental commitments and thirdly positioning our overall agri-food sector as a key pillar of the economy, which it always has been and still is the largest indigenous employer domestically,” the minister said.
The Government’s 2030 Agri-Food Strategy is expected to be unveiled in draft form in the coming week. It will be opened up for public consultation and then amended in June of this year.
It is understood that the document will include a chapter on farm incomes and recommend that a forum be set up to implement that.?
There had been criticism of the Food Harvest and Food Wise reports that they focused on production targets at the expense of farmer incomes.