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Govt Needs Positive Outcome of Nitrates Review

by 5m Editor
31 August 2010, at 8:08am

IRELAND - IFA President John Bryan has said that the outcome of the nitrates review has the potential to make or break the Government’s Food Harvest 2020 growth strategy for the agri-food sector, which is essential to national economic recovery, exports and job creation.

Mr Bryan stressed the interdependency of the different sectors in Irish Agriculture, saying that sustainable growth in dairying, livestock, pigs and poultry is critically linked to a secure supply of indigenous feed grain from the tillage sector and the recycling of organic fertilisers.

“The nitrates review must provide a platform for viable growth for each sector to achieve the Food Harvest 2020 targets, including 50 per cent increased output from the dairy sector, a 20 per cent increase in beef and 50 per cent growth from pigs. To achieve these targets the review must eliminate excessive costs and restrictions that are holding back the growth potential of each sector.

While the continuation of the 250kg Org N derogation for the dairy and livestock farmers and the roll-over of the phosphorous provision for the pig and poultry producers are essential, we also need to restore competitiveness in the tillage sector. Excessive restrictions over winter ploughing, green cover and nitrogen application rates have to be removed as they have reduced yields and resulted in the sector losing competitiveness compared to the UK.”

Policy-makers need to recognise the economic value of organic fertilisers from the pigs sector for grassland farmers, who can secure higher productivity while saving on input costs and substituting imported chemical fertiliser, Mr Bryan concluded.