October 10, 2023
Minister for Agriculture delivers reduced budget, ignoring key challenges for farmers – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has said that the Minister for Agriculture’s reduced budget fails to respond to key challenges facing family farms.

Across all three spending programmes under Agriculture, the overall budget is reduced for next year with just €41 million allocated for new measures.

Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget 2024 allocated an additional €199 million in current and capital supports for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Teachta Kerrane said:

“At a time when so many farmers across all sectors in agriculture are under huge financial strain, are still not receiving a fair price for their premium produce in many cases, and are facing the challenge of climate change, the Minister has announced a reduced budget for next year, well below last year’s.

“This budget fails to recognise these challenges and provides for a reduced allocation, at a time when the budget should be going in the other direction.

“Yet again we have another budget that fails to mention the forgotten farmers, many of whom are coming to the end of their tether waiting for Government action. We provided for these young farmers in our Alternative Budget as a priority issue.

“The Government has also repackaged several already-allocated measures, presented in today’s announcement as funding for agri-environmental schemes. The announced funding for ACRES will likely see places in the scheme remain stagnant, rather than increasing in 2024. Measures around forestry have already been announced and offer nothing new.

“Sinn Féin have provided for key environmental measures that would allow farmers to deliver on climate action targets – including funding for a system of farm-by-farm carbon audits and a €10.6m LESS (Low Emission Slurry Spreading) Grant.

“The Government has focused on repackaging and putting a bow on an agriculture allocation that is a substantial drop in real terms, rather than working to deliver for our family farms. Remember, this is alongside a CAP Budget that is also a cut in real terms for Farmers.

“If this is a trend that continues from this Government, it’s a real message to farmers – you’ve got what you have under CAP and don’t be looking to this Government for anything more.

“This budget ignores the very many challenges facing farmers and is further evidence that this Government is not listening to them.”

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