SPEAKING following last week’s AGM of West Cork ICMSA, Eileen Calnan, secretary of the group, said that much adverse comment and frustration had been expressed from the floor at perceived inconsistencies around the audits carried out in connection with the Bord Bia scheme.
Ms Calnan said that the application of the scheme and the process involved needed to be consistent from the start and, most importantly, the outspoken Clonakilty farmer said that all farmers who sign-up to the scheme needed to see a financial benefit.
‘The most important aspect of the scheme is the recognition that it requires a considerable investment on the part of the farmer and it is essential that a quality assurance bonus is paid on all participating animals slaughtered that reflects the efforts made on behalf of the scheme. ‘Bord Bia have to grasp the fact that the people doing the real work and making the real investment here are the farmers – and it’s them that will have to see a reward commensurate with the effort made. I have to say that there is not a huge conviction amongst West Cork farmers that that is presently the case.’
Ms Calnan also referred to the huge interest around proposed new low interest fund to be made available for farm loans and she interpreted that as a real commitment to move forward and invest sustainably: ‘we have some of the best dairy farmers in Ireland in West Cork and I’ve huge optimism about where they can bring our local farming and food sector.’