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Minister Smith rejects IFA claims

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today rejected claims by the President of the IFA in relation to the publication of figures by his Department showing the average tax paid by Irish farmers in 2007.

The figures were published, as has been the practice in previous years, in the Department's Annual Review and Outlook for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food 2007/2008, which the Minister published on 30th June. Minister Smith said that the tax figures were published each year as part of a wide range of statistical information provided in the Review and Outlook, including detailed farm income data.

Minister Smith pointed out that, at the time of the publication of the Annual Review and Outlook, he drew particular attention to the value of the agri-food sector, accounting for 7%, 8% of employment and 10% of exports, a point he had since made in a speech to the Dáil on 10th July. He took the opportunity to highlight the huge importance of farming and the agri-food sector to the economy, both from an employment point of view and also as a major contributor to regional development. The Minister also outlined the further employment opportunities that can be created in the overall biosector.

Minister Smith pointed out that, on the same day as he published the Annual Review and Outlook, he also published a report showing that the agri-food sector (or 'biosector') contributes approximately one-third of the net flow of funds into the economy generated by manufacturing exports which the Minister noted he described as providing "a timely and accurate indication of the importance of the sector to the economy."

The Minister concluded by saying that the Department's Annual Review and Outlook was a comprehensive and valuable report, detailing the performance of the agri-food sector and providing a range of useful statistical data and confirmed that he had no plans to significantly change its content or presentation.

Date Released: 15 July 2008