Government must support farmers who grow miscanthus – Harkin

Miscanthus

North West MEP Marian Harkin says the government must do more to support farmers who began growing miscanthus and willow on the assumption that they would become important elements of a growing biomass industry to meet EU sustainable energy requirements by 2020.

However, Ms Harkin says the Departments of Agriculture and Communication, Energy and Natural Resources misled farmers about the prospects for developing biomass as a cash crop.

Now, she says, miscanthus is not an eligible crop in the context of the Greening and Crop Diversification elements of the CAP Basic Payments Scheme, and failure to develop an infrastructure to burn miscanthius means many farmers are left high and dry.

Ms Harkin says there are issues with transport and infrastructure that need to be addressed........