uIRISH sheep producers will gather in large numbers at Roscommon next week (Saturday), to demand more government aid in the face of a worsening income crisis. Lamb prices have dropped I£10 (£8) a head since last year, while the ewe premium is unchanged, costing the industry £38m, claims the Irish Farmers Association.
uFRANCE has reported another two BSE casualties this week, taking the total so far this year to 24. This means that France has now declared 73 cases, with a marked acceleration in the past 12 months. Both herds involved have now been destroyed – a move British scientists say is unnecessary, given the absence of any horizontal transmission.
uFOOD safety commissioner, David Byrne, is to spell out his plans for a European Food Agency when he publishes his White Paper in the next few weeks. While the precise make-up of the agency will be open to discussion, its role will be to restore consumers lost confidence in food science, Mr Byrne told a Dublin food law conference last week.
uEUROPEAN farmers leader Noel Devisch has been drumming up support for EU farm policies in the Far East, in the countdown to this months free trade talks in Seattle. According to Brussels sources, the COPA president had a sympathetic hearing in Japan and Korea, where senior ministers also favour some degree of trade protection.
uAGRICULTURAL education is to get a boost in the Republic of Ireland. Farm minister, Joe Walsh, this week set up an education and training task force to review industry needs and make recommendations. The aim is to increase the availability of a skilled and motivated workforce, he said. *