November 2, 2019
Small is Smart – EU Workshop

Tom Murphy Reports: I was recently invited to take part in a workshop where support strategies for small farmers in Europe was the focal point of discussion. This workshop was held in Bucharest and hosted by the Romanian Government with stakeholders from seventeen countries in attendance.

Small agricultural and forestry holdings form an integral part of the European countryside providing diversity of landscape and a livelihood for millions of people and their future wellbeing and viability is as important as that of the much larger agribusinesses.

From an agricultural contracting perspective, the supporting role we can play was not something many had considered.  Needless to say the main thrust of my intervention was to highlight the agricultural contracting sector as a way to increase productivity and bring the benefits of smart farming to smaller farming enterprises, without farmers  having to invest in high cost machinery.   Delegates concluded that there were more productive ways for farmers to invest monies in improving their farms and it made sense to leave big machinery investment to agricultural contractors. 

 There was a packed agenda with plenary sessions and interactive workshops, the overall aim of which was to promote networking among people and projects dealing with innovation and the adoption of new technologies in small farm and forestry holdings.  Participant’s explored ways in which to identify common challenges and solutions and understand the elements required to improve support strategies for the smaller farming enterprise. 

Tom Murphy PAC Ireland with delegates at EU meeting in Romania
Tom Murphy PAC Ireland with Delegates at Meeting in Romania

It might be an idea if our own policy makers could attend such meetings to partake in rational debate in relation to the place of the agricultural contractor within the Irish farming sector.