Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus
Sinn Féin has responded to the European Commission’s proposed ‘Farm to Fork’ strategy by claiming that it will fail if it does not deliver better income for farmers.
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus, who sits on the EU Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said, “The Farm to Fork strategy released by the European Commission sets ambitious environmental targets but it also promises to improve incomes and ensure financial support goes to farmers who work and maintain the land rather than ‘entities and companies who merely own farm land’.
“For me this is the key issue because environmental targets will only be reached if farmers are adequately supported. The European Commission needs to follow through on ensuring it is active farmers that ultimately benefit from financial support, and that supports translate into decent incomes.
“We have heard similar promises in the past and seen repeated failures to affect any real change. Many farmers are still struggling to make a living.
“Trust is at an all time low between many farmers and the European Commission after the Commission announced plans to severely cut CAP funding. This budget proposal is currently being revised, leaving farmers with ongoing uncertainty about the future.
“The Farm to Fork strategy points to the need for ‘better targeting’ of income support to farmers’ which is undoubtedly true. However, better targeting of support can in no way be a substitute for adequate levels of funding.
“There will also be concerns that the farm to fork strategy falls under the responsibility of the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety rather than the Agricultural commissioner given the clear implications for farmers and rural communities.
“Sinn Fein will continue to push for more funding for CAP that reflects the increased challenges being set for farms. And it should be ensured that these funds end up with active farmers who work and maintain the land.
“I believe farmers stand ready to lead an environmental change but they cannot do it when they are undervalued and underpaid”.