“Collection of Farm Statistics only worthwhile if acted upon” – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that the collection of Farm Statistics must be used to identify and respond effectively to problems exposed in the Common Agriculture Policy. Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament Agriculture & Rural Development Committee, was speaking in Strasbourg where a file on “Integrated farm Statistics”, on which Carthy was Shadow Rapporteur, is expected to be adopted this week.
“I have worked on this regulation extensively over the past year as Shadow Rapporteur.
“The available statistics have starkly demonstrated the inadequacy of the current system, but we need more data, to grasp fully the challenges facing Irish and European agriculture and to properly inform the shaping of future CAP policy.
“The way in which the EU has gathered farm data in the past has been incoherent and hard to compare between states. This is one area where I think a benefit can be gained from establishing a comprehensive framework to improve date transmission, consistency and allow much more targeted collection.
“The regulation will ensure a common methodology that places no extra burden on farmers. The impact of effective date collection is a more accurate picture of the effect of agricultural policies, changes to land use in rural areas, climate impacts and social changes.
“It can be utilized to identify where failings exist and examine how more equality can be injected into the unbalanced system of payments.
“I am especially pleased that the Sinn Féin priorities on this file have been included in the final outcome and will form part of the new survey, specifically related to farm ownership models, information of farm transfers and the age profile of our farming community.
“We can now hope that having this information will assist us in identifying where failings exist.
“Of course, statistics are only as useful as the purpose they are put to.
“For example, we’ve known for years that we have a serious problem in attracting young people into farming.
“We’ve known for years that there is a massive disparity in the CAP payment levels that go to the richest farm interests in comparison to the majority of farmers.
“We’ve known for years that peripheral farmers face greater obstacles than most.
“Yet, this information has not been sufficiently acted upon, the problems have gotten worse.
“So, if we are to have an improved information gathering system in place, it must be matched with improved reactions to the problems those statistics expose”.