DEPUTY Seamus Kirk Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Horticulture and Rural Affairs has said the proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy is one of the more important debates that will be held in the Dail over the next 18 months.
“There has been phenomenal growth in the world’s population and food production in Europe will need to increase to meet these needs.
In Ireland we will need to have an industry that is geared towards meeting the needs of developing markets.
“The Minister for Agriculture referred to the age profile in Irish agriculture. The number of people under 35 years of age who are actively involved in farming is low. If we are to get the changes we need, we must attract young people to the industry. I welcome the proposals in the document to try to address this issue.
“The Government that took the decision to raid pension funds to create employment.
“The agriculture industry generates beef, dairy and other exports. Should we not take the opportunity to create jobs in the industry?
“At a time when nearly 500,000 people are unemployed, agriculture is seen in a different light today than it was two or three years ago.
“Young people are being drawn towards it. The demand for places in agricultural colleges around the country bears this fact out.
“There are not enough places. Some colleges are overcrowded with students. It may well be an area the Minister needs to examine,”
Mr Kirk said.