Our Plan for the Rural Economy
Posted on February 15, 2011 at 01:39 PM
"As a Dail Deputy representing a largely rural constituency I have a particular interest in the potential of the agri-food sector and the wider bio-economy," said Labour's Spokesperson for Agriculture and Food, Séan Sherlock. Speaking with Mary Upton TD, Ruairi Quinn TD and Wicklow candidate Cllr Tom Fortune at the launch of Labour's Plan for the Rural Economy he said "Ireland has a prime opportunity to make a quantum leap in food production through the export of food products.
"Irish agriculture needs to position itself to take advantage of new markets, a growing world population and a move towards more market-driven policies at EU level, which is pushing up demand for quality food products.
"The agri-food sector is one of Ireland's biggest employers, it is largely Irish-owned, and it is nationwide. Labour's plan is to transform one of our traditional strengths into a 21st century driver of economic growth."
Labour's plans for developing the food industry include; supporting a model of Single Farm Payments that will reward innovation and lead to further inclusion of younger farmers.
Enabling farmers, non-rural residents with inherited land and older single farmers to vest their holdings in a local co-operative farm partnership, where they would retain ownership, share in the profits of such partnerships and be regularly informed of progress and plans. These farm units could be a powerful source of local employment, and could have the scale to develop and produce branded products.
Mary Upton TD also unveiled plans for rebuilding Ireland's vital tourism industry for the twenty first century, including retaining the Tourism Marketing Fund, building new markets in emerging economies, and focusing on niche markets such as ecotourism, food tourism, and business and conference tourism.
(Download our Plan for the Rural Economy here.) (You can also follow us on Twitter to get up-to-date information on our policy launches, news and reports from the canvassing trail; you can also like Labour on Facebook.)
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