I agree with Deputy Boyle that there is an opportunity for organic produce and of that there is little doubt. More and more consumers want to have food that is naturally produced, free of residues and devoid of any deleterious material. To that end, a greater effort should be made by our farmers to fill that niche in the market. For example, there are many parts of the country that would have a famine were it not for the amount of vegetable products delivered there once a week. Not alone are they delivered once a week from city areas but they have already been imported into the country. With decoupling, or breaking the link with production, the FAPRI economic study suggested that there would be a 16% reduction in the suckler cow herd and a 5% reduction in the ewe flock. There will certainly be opportunities in terms of land use. We have a very sizeable import bill for food at €3 billion per annum. I am not suggesting that all that market can be availed of by Irish producers and farmers but there is a substantial niche in the market and that is only in the home market.
Farmhouse cheese manufacturers at cottage food level have shown that not alone have they made inroads into the Irish market but they have done very well in the British and French markets. There are opportunities. To fall back and say: " There is no market, we would prefer to make the old type products", is just not good enough any more. People will be given their single farm grant and after that they will have to go for their opportunities in the market place. Good, young Irish farmers will go for that opportunity and they will surprise themselves and everybody else in how well they will do.