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Industry Expert Backs Department’s Long-Term Goal 24 December 2007

The much-anticipated Andersons study into the Future Support Structure of Manx agriculture was launched at a presentation attended by around 100 farmers at the Mount Murray Hotel on the 18th December.

The report is a comprehensive investigation into the effects of proposals from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to replace current subsidies that are linked to production, with a payment to farmers for maintaining the Island’s rich landscape.

The report gives a very strong green light for the long-term direction of the DAFF proposals, whilst introducing some extra points to help smooth the transition.

The Department’s proposals were initiated following recommendations from an industry working group (the 2010 Committee) which was created to establish a long-term vision for Manx Agriculture after 2010. It is likely that after 2010 the Island will lose its ability to limit the imports of red meat from the UK/ EU and therefore the local industry will be faced with a far more competitive trading environment.

In the short term, the Andersons report has suggested some production payments should remain to help the meat and milling wheat sectors through the change. This reflects the risks that each of these sectors face from the recent rapid increases of feed cereal prices. With the exception of pigs, the production payments will taper off over a period of five years.

Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for Agriculture, commented: ‘I am grateful for the work that Francis Mordaunt has done, and the full cooperation he has received from all sectors of the industry. The report is balanced and the recommendations are a fair solution for the needs of individual farmers and the industry as a whole. The report will have a significant influence on the Department’s future policy.’

He added: ‘By demonstrating to the EU that Manx farmers are not receiving production related subsidies, which could be perceived to enable Manx farmers to trade with an unfair advantage with those in the UK and Europe, we will be in a better position to negotiate for continued protection of our home market after 2010.’

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