Policy and Economic Change in the Agri-Food Sector in Ireland
In the agri-food sector, recent policy reforms such as the milk quota abolition and CAP reform as well as robust export growth have increased the sector’s visibility in public debate. In this paper we assess the economic characteristics of the sector and consider prospects for expansion. We also assess challenges to expansion, including land access, elderly age profile, the uptake of technologies, the financial strength of this sector, increasing price volatility and environmental constraints. The paper also highlights income challenges in terms of low viability rates that affect particularly the drystock sectors and the severe impact that the economic downturn has had on off-farm income. Also as the sector is highly influenced by policy, both in terms of regulation and in terms of impact of agricultural subsidies on total income levels, we consider the impact of recent CAP reforms.
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