Mr. Kenny described the low incomes as inadequate and disingenuous.
He added that the low incomes reported suggest a significant crisis for a majority of Irish Farmers, he said that the Ministers response was that 64% of farms are only part time.
He said, “The Teagasc figures showing that the average farm income last year was only €24,000, a decrease of nine per cent since 2015, which indicates a significant crisis for the majority of Irish farmers. The Minister’s response in the Dáil yesterday when I raised this was to point out that 64% of farms are classified as part-time.
He said the reason farmers are part time is because of the low incomes in the first place, “The reason that two-thirds of farms are part-time is because incomes are so low that people cannot make ends meet without working off-farm. The minister likes to suggest that this is a choice.”
Mr. Kenny continued by stating when he questioned the minister of plans to increase farm incomes, he was just pointed in the direction of the direct payments made by the EU. He said, “When I asked what were the plans in the Department to support farmers and increase farm income, his response was to point to direct payments from the EU and the Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme.”
Kenny also added that such is the quality of Irish meats, that top prices should be paid, “Meanwhile, Irish meat and dairy produce is of such a high quality that it should be fetching top price on the market. There is a job to be done in the promotion of such agri-food produce in the top-class and top price range and that price should be reflected in the price that the primary producer, the farmer, receives for his hard work.”