THE plight of the farming community has been a recurring issue brought up this year, and one sector that really requires focus and support is the grain industry and our grain growers, says Cork Senator Tim Lombard.
‘Over the past few years the grain sector in Ireland has been declining and unfortunately is now on the verge of collapse. A fourth year of bad weather, mediocre prices and reduced volume has been severely detrimental to the grain industry,’ he said this week.
He added that we are looking at a situation from Cork to Donegal where grain has not been harvested, prices are as low as €135 per tonne, and moisture content is anything up to 30%. ‘It is a massive issue for all those involved in the agriculture sector; the grain industry has always been an important sector for Irish agriculture and we cannot let it continue to slip through our fingers. We must act now, before Irish grain growers and our grain industry can no longer persevere,’ he told The Southern Star.
'I met with grain farmers from all around West Cork and all of them presented the same predicament. Years of struggle and adversity are paying its toll; grain farmers are at the end of their tether and they need assistance,’ he said.
‘During a debate in the Seanad last week I called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, to come to the Seanad and discuss this issue as I believe we need to go to Europe for an aid package that will help support and resuscitate Irish grain farmers and industry. A package of €11.2 million has been put in place for the livestock sector this year but none has thus far been allocated for the grain sector. There needs to be funding available for this collapsing industry. If aid is not forthcoming soon we will face a situation that the grain sector may not survive,’ he said.