Icos: EU farm funds top priority

Co-op sector umbrella group Icos is seeking a commitment to strong Cap funding and the development of new overseas markets for agri-food products from all General Election candidates.

Icos wants the government that emerges from next week’s general election to deliver a strong voice for Irish agri-food at EU negotiations.

Icos represents more than 130 co-operatives with some 150,000 members. The co-ops have a combined turnover of about €14bn, employing 12,000 people in Ireland and 24,000 overseas.

In its extensive list of priorities, Icos has called upon the next government to adopt a strategy to ensure that free trade between UK and Ireland is unaltered by any political change. It also wants the next government to ensure Ireland’s carbon efficient, grass-fed production system gains full recognition in the context of EU climate-change talks.

Icos has also called upon the next government to amend the Irish Rural Development Programme to provide for low-cost, accessible, long-term finance for the agri-food sector as has been offered by the European Investment Bank.

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