Farmers and biodiversity

Paying a fair price for our food

Sir, – Catherine Conlon’s analysis of the relationship between farmers and biodiversity (Letters, April 13th) broadly describes the dilemma. It is the default solution of incentives and subsidies that I have issue with.

Farmers do more (by nature or by accident) for biodiversity than most other sections of society. The diversity of biology in their workplace is phenomenal. Given the chance, they willingly protect this for all our benefit. Incentives and subsidies to coax them to do so are unnecessary.

They strive to produce food for a world with unrestrained population growth, and they strive to be viable.

So, is it a surprise that they use their farmland to produce what we, the consumer, is willing to pay for? There are so many documented cases of crop farmers going out of business for want of a few extra cent on a bag of Brussel sprouts or lettuce. Yet we have no qualms about paying for non-fresh, carbon footprinted imports.


Just thinking: there would be no need for any other incentives (or indeed hand wringing) if we paid the grower a fair price – biodiversity would naturally happen. – Yours, etc.



Dublin 14.