“Despite all the challenges, our exports grew by 4% to a record €13.5bn. This demonstrates the standing and reputation of our food, based on the raw materials produced by Irish farmers,” he said.
“With a massive increase in input costs – feed, energy and fertiliser – it’s critical that the price received by farmers increases across all sectors to help offset the extraordinary hike in the costs of production. It’s vital that the additional value generated by our food exports is delivered, in full, back to the farmer producing the raw material,” he said.
“Agriculture is our most important indigenous sector. It must be fostered and supported. Our economy is very dependent of foreign direct investment, but we must balance this with an increased focus on our indigenous sectors,” he said.
“We all acknowledge the need to continue to build on our environmental credentials, but we cannot do this at the expense of the economic sustainability of our primary producers,” he said.
“The current policy direction from the Irish Government is not striking the right balance between environmental, economic and social sustainability as set out in Food Vision 2030,” he said.
“The world will need more food and we are fortunate to have the climate and the expertise, built up on Irish farms over generations, to produce top quality food. We should be proud of this and work to support it, not undermine it,” he said.