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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Hemp farmers set to lose up to €2,550/ac

Hemp farmers in Ireland look set to lose €2,550/acre under the DAFM’s consultation framework.

That is according to Hemp Federation Ireland, a body that has withdrawn from DAFM consultations.

It penned a formal letter to the secretary-general of the DAFM, requesting an “open, transparent and appropriate consultation framework”.

It believes that the current framework confines Ireland farmers and operators to “discussing only the stalk of a hemp crop”.

The letter it issued to Mr Gleeson includes EU statistics and Irish farm income data, which “clearly show” Irish farmers are set to lose up to €2,550/acre compared to 2020 cash values.

Hemp farmers in Ireland look set to lose €2,550/acre under the DAFM’s consultation framework. That is according to Hemp Federation Ireland, a body that has withdrawn from DAFM consultations.
Image: Hemp Federation of Ireland

Hemp farmers in Ireland

Chris Allen, director of HFI, said industry bodies across EU member states are engaged in extended consultations with the EU Commission and DG AGRI, based on farmers continuing to benefit financially from all parts of the crop.

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“Irish farmers and operators are prevented from participating in those discussions by Irish government ministers and agencies who do not understand how this highly complex agricultural industry functions.”

“The DAFM consultation framework is based solely on exclusions because objective facts do not support the underlying policy.”

“While all of Europe is discussing this lucrative crop and its unique environmental potential in the context of highly monetised EU CAP, Farm to Fork and climate policy objectives, Irish farmers are supposed to talk about the stalk; that’s just ridiculous.”

Exclusion from farm schemes 

Furthermore, the HFI’s letter goes into some detail regarding the regulation of the hemp industry by competent authorities. This includes the DAFM’s “exclusion” of all hemp farmers and operators from agricultural support schemes.

Also, Allen said there is “no legal basis” for the DAFM or Department of Enterprise’s exclusions.

“The Irish hemp industry should be regulated lawfully; Irish government ministers should be operating within the bounds of Irish law and European law.”

“The Minister for Agriculture must explain his actions. Also, the Minister for Health and his agencies must explain theirs, as must SBCI bank.”

“Nobody who reads our letter could be left in any doubt that the regulation of the Irish hemp industry must be addressed by legislators and sorted out immediately.”

“We trust others; Irish farming organisations, the environmental pillar, educational and research institutions, private companies, political parties and individual citizens will support Hemp Federation Ireland’s considered position and our request for a genuine consultation with our industry experts.”

Furthermore, Allen believes the situation “clearly demands” political action and political leadership.

She said the Dáil must address the unlawful regulation of this crop, and the “dismantling of the industry by unlawful means”.

Other articles:
  • Hemp sector could hemp farmers supplement their income – Carthy – Read
  • ‘The benefits of growing hemp are endless; farmers are willing to make the change’ – Walsh
  • ‘100% of the hemp crop can be processed into many eco-friendly products’ – students
  • Kate Carmody on pig, dairy and hemp farming – read profile
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