Offaly election hopeful says 'put farmers first, not big business'

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Offaly election hopeful says 'put farmers first, not big business'

Offaly election hopeful says 'put farmers first, not big business'

An Offaly election hopeful and Green party representative, Pippa Hackett, has said the government needs to put farmers and struggling farm families first ahead of big agri.

As Teagasc warn against the problem of ‘greenwashing’, the Green Party are highlighting the fact that family farms are struggling under the current agriculture model and the government need to acknowledge that.

"We need to overhaul the Origin Green programme and a re-write of future food strategies is vital if the Irish family farming model is going to survive. With the continued uncertainties of Brexit and a new Common Agricultural Policy on the horizon, it’s time Minister Creed takes off his rose-tinted glasses and takes a proper look at the Irish agri-food sector and its effect on Irish family farms and our environment," the party says.

Speaking today, Green Party Spokesperson on Agriculture Pippa Hackett, said: “We have long been critics of the Origin Green Programme from Bord Bía, and Fine Gael’s food policies (Food Wise2025 & Food Harvest 2020). With a new food policy in development for 2030, it is crucial that a radical approach is taken in how we produce food – both domestically and for export."

“Even Teagasc has cautioned against ‘greenwashing’ our agri-food sector, and that the industry needs credible indications to back up its claims. Unfortunately, many of the Origin Green claims are not backed up by evidence. Instead, we have rising GHG emissions, and poor environmental outcomes for our water, air, soil, biodiversity, and animal welfare," Pippa added.

“Fine Gael food policies have failed miserably to support the vast majority of primary producers. Bord Bia is a taxpayer subsidised marketing agency for multi-nationals with multi-billion euro turnovers. While their profit margins grow year on year, farmers on the ground face higher production costs, lower prices, and are essentially caught in a limbo, with few options, and no proper supports to improve farm incomes. Others have been plunged into large borrowings, that may well be generational in nature."

“Climate change and environmental breakdown cannot continue to be ignored by this Government. It is long past the time that these issues are mainstreamed into all decisions made, particularly when it comes to farming and food. Rural Ireland depends on it," she concluded.