Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Land ‘inequality’ increasing in EU

Land at Renville House, Co Galway
Land at Renville House, Co Galway

Sarah Collins

MEPs have voted in favour of supporting family farms as large agricultural holdings dominate the landscape.

A European Parliament study shows that in 2013, 3.1pc of farmers control 52.2pc of all farmland in the EU, with 76pc of farms having the use of only 11.2pc of land.

The report says this places the EU on a par with Brazil, Columbia and the Philippines in terms of land inequality.

“In the West of Ireland, massive land grabs have taken place over the last year that see the likes of multinational pension companies buying up large swaths of land to plant forestry,” claimed Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy.

“This land may never make their way back into the hands of the local communities.”

He says the government has failed to close loopholes in existing legislation that encourage high concentration of ownership.

The EU report, though non-binding, recommends governments give small and medium-sized local producers, new entrants and young farmers priority to buy and rent farmland, and that land or rental contracts contain requirements for those buying it to engage in farming.

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