Challenges Facing Irish Agriculture
There are many challenges facing Irish agriculture today. Agriculture has always been the mainstay of Ireland. However, the number of farmers in the fields in Ireland has been decreasing each year. This has a bearing in the overall production and output from agriculture. Statistics by the Irish government indicate that one out of five farmers in this country is poor. This implies that the farmer earns an annual income that is not more than £7,000.
This is not enough and things appear even worse when challenges facing Irish agriculture are considered closely. Decline in agriculture in Ireland has happened at a time when huge investments have been made in this sector. 1.25 billion pounds were invested under the Structural Funding program of the European Union. This has made many people to wonder what would happen to the Irish agriculture if there were no such funding.
This fact has increased the challenges facing Irish agriculture because investors are running away from the sector. Thus, the agriculture sector is lacking investors to pump the necessary resources for reviving it. This bad outlook of agriculture coupled with low returns for farmers is making it difficult for the sector to capture the attention of capable investors.
Another challenge that the Irish farming is facing is the pressure from other states to abolish support of the agriculture sector by the European Union. For instance, the WTO has been very vocal on this issue. The aim of this organization is to ensure that Europe is opened up to Australia and America as well as other producers of food products.
There is also oversupply in some agricultural products. For instance, in Ireland beef production is always at 100,000 tons in the stores as surplus. This beef does not have market. Thus, there is a challenge of overproduction of some agricultural produce that does not have a ready market.
There is also the challenge of old farmers. About 25 percent of farmers in Ireland are over 65 years old. About 50 percent farmers are aged 55 years and above. Young people are not involved in farmer. At old age, farmers cannot innovate or even adapt new farming techniques.
There is also the problem of part time farming. There are many farmers in Ireland who are part time farmers. This implies that they are not devoted in farming. They have lands but they engage in farming activities that do not require much attention such as dairy farming. This has led to under-utilization of farm land which in turn reduces the overall agricultural output.
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