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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I commend Senator Daly's comments regarding the important report on the future of the tillage industry in Ireland, produced by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine and published this morning. This is the start of a conversation to ensure that the tillage industry, which has suffered greatly over the last four or five years, can re-establish itself. Unfortunately, there has been a large decline in the acreage under tillage here, from almost 2,500 ha to an estimated 1,500 ha, which is a dramatic fall. If we do not move now to implement the proposals set out in this report the decrease will continue. The report comprises 35 recommendations. It is important we do our best to implement them so that the tillage industry can be maintained. It is more than appropriate that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine would come to the House to discuss the recommendations proposed in the report.
There is much debate in Ireland about our brand as a food nation. One of the frightening statistics of the report published today is that only 1% of a pint goes to the farmer and the remaining 99% is spread across a number of other areas. In other words, raw materials cover 1% and the remaining 99% goes to retailers and manufacturers. We are selling Ireland as a brand in the food and beverage industry and so we need to ensure our raw material is maintained. This will be a key issue for us going forward.
The report published today is the starting point. We need action on the core issues, be that low cost finance, Brexit, CAP requirements around farm maintenance, and so on. All of these issues are on the table for discussion. I believe this report is one of the most important produced by the Oireachtas in the last few years. I compliment my colleague, Senator Paul Daly, on his input in that regard. The report is an all-party report produced by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Now is the appropriate time to have the Minister come to this Chamber to discuss the 35 recommendations therein so that we can progress this issue and, hopefully, stop the tide of people moving away from tillage.