The Women in Agriculture Stakeholders Group (WASG) is “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome of its first meeting with Department of Agriculture senior officials.
The newly established group met with the DAFM on Tuesday, September 14th, 2021.
A number of the representatives from the group – that included the IFA, ICMSA, ICSA and Macra na Feirme – discussed CAP proposals, including a partnership tax credit, female-only KT schemes and a 60% TAMS grant for women.
WASG chair Hannah Quinn-Mulligan said:
“Considering currently fewer than 500 women under 35 years of age receive farm payments, there is a long way to go to secure the future recognition and inclusion of women in the sector.”
“However, today’s meeting was welcome, and it was a very positive first step.”
“The department has confirmed they are actively reviewing our CAP proposals. We look forward to engaging with them again in the coming weeks.”
IFA representative, Caroline Farrell said:
“The IFA was delighted to be part of the meeting, and the department seemed to engage with us constructively with more meetings expected in the future.”
Vanessa Kiely O’Connor, ICMSA, also outlined further work with the department.
She said: “We felt our proposals were welcomed. We look forward to working with them and their commitment to gender balance.”
Mona O’Donoghue-Concannon, ICSA, and Louise Crowley, Macra na Feirme agreed the meeting had been positive.
Louise added that what followed would determine how serious the department was in its commitment to improving the sector’s inclusivity.
Tackle the gender balance in Irish agriculture
The newly formed group has called on Minister Charlie McConalogue to “tackle” inclusivity and the gender balance in Irish agriculture.
Out of 20,612 payments since 2016, the DAFM made 751 to women. In addition, it issued just 97 of those payments to women under 35 years of age.
According to Quinn-Mulligan, the group aims to ensure that women across rural Ireland receive official recognition for their work on farms and that young women feel they have prospects inside the farm gate they call home.