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Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry welcomes the release of the 2010 Committee’s Interim Report 9 August 2006

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has welcomed the 2010 Committee’s newly published Interim Report, which indicates the initiatives likely to be required to facilitate the sustainability of the agricultural industry.

Minister for Agriculture, Phil Gawne, who is the Chairman of the 2010 Committee, commented “This report represents the first step in our race to build a secure future for the Manx farming industry.” The Minister added “The report clearly identifies areas of opportunity for a long term marketing strategy and I am confident that the industry can thrive, provided the Government, food processors and farmers work together.”

Phil Gawne commented “This report suggests ways to allow farmers the freedom to flourish, through being able to control their own businesses and produce what they can sell most profitably.”

He added “The Department’s current support policy is distracting farmers from an ultimately more profitable market focus and driving them to produce what will attract the highest level of Department support, rather than what the market needs.”

Phil Gawne said “Manx consumers and taxpayers value the Island’s wonderful countryside and the amenity opportunities it provides for them. It is important that we continue the current level of Government support for farms, in a way that rewards farmers for their continued management of the countryside.”

One of the key conclusions in the report, is the acceptance that the current policy of stimulating production to maintain throughput at the meat plant is not sustainable.

Phil Gawne added “There is a real possibility that changes in farm support may reduce throughput at the Meat Plant. However, the FMA can not plan the appropriate slaughter process until the scale of future throughput is clearer.”

He continued “During the interim, it is likely that we will need to consider a short term support package for the current Meat Plant.”

However, he added “It is crucial that support is provided for initiatives that help the FMA to grow a sustainable market focused business.”

Trying to put the available timescale into perspective, the Minister observed “When beef farmers put their bull out with the cows last month, I wonder if they stopped to consider that next spring’s calves which are reared as replacements, will themselves probably produce their first offspring in 2010.”

He emphasised “The loss of the derogation is just one breeding cycle away, so the changes must start now.”

Minister Phil Gawne concluded “We have great products, world class farmers and a meat marketing organisation which is now making tremendous strides forwards. I am confident that we can evolve a thriving, market focused food chain which harnesses our unique Island branding opportunity. If we are successful, it will be good news for everybody involved, including the Manx consumer.”

Note to Editors

1. The Minister will be discussing the implications of the 2010 report in two talks he will be giving at the DAFF ‘Talk Tent’ at the Royal Manx Agricultural Show this Friday and Saturday at 12.30. Contact the Minister on 685839 or 416221.

2. Copies of the summary to the Report and the Report itself can be accessed via the DAFF website: http://www.gov.im/daff/animals/2010committee.xml

3. Copies of the Report and summary can also be requested from DAFF (Telephone: 685835).

END

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