Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Common Agricultural Policy and Young Farmers: Engagement with Macra na Feirme

Photo of Matt CarthyMatt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I welcome Mr. Keane and his colleagues. I regret we are not able to meet in the committee room. I thank Macra na Feirme for its ongoing engagement with the committee and its constructive role not only in assisting this committee in its different deliberations but also in helping to shape Irish farm policy more broadly in a very progressive direction. I commend everybody involved in that. For a young farmers' organisation, its professionalism is evident in all of our interactions.

I have a number of questions, which I will ask separately. Mr. Keane or any of his colleagues can respond to them as they see fit. The starkest figures referenced in the opening statement were the difference between 2005 and 2016 in terms of young farmers acting as farm managers. The figure was down from 10.7% in 2005 to 6.1% in 2016. The overall figures that 5% of our farmers are young farmers and that 30% are over 65 years of age points to a crisis. Do the witnesses think we have moved from the position where we were heading towards a terminal decline or do we have the foundations, if not the building blocks, to reverse that trend?

Mr. Keane mentioned that we cannot manage what we do not measure. What type of targets need to be set in regard to the next CAP so that we can measure the success of the next programme to 2027? In other words, what is the bare minimum? Do the witnesses believe the strategic plan, as currently outlined, is fit to deliver that purpose?


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