At an executive meeting of Mayo IFA earlier this week, concerns were raised about a controversial €200m forestry fund launched recently by Coillte and Gresham House - to buy swathes of land in Ireland to plant forestry.
Mayo IFA Chair Jarlath Walsh says it's unfair on local farmers who were prepared to plant forestry on these lands, but due to a change in licensing systems by Coillte were unable to do so.
He says many farmers will ultimately be driven out of the industry.
He has been speaking to Midwest Radio's Alannah Nolan....
According to a report in the Farmers Journal, Coillte and Gresham House have claimed that farmers will not be blown out of the land market by the controversial €200m forestry fund launched recently.
Both Coillte and Gresham House insist that purchases of bare land by its Irish Strategic Forestry Fund (ISFF) will average around 700ha for five years, or around 3,500ha in total.
The prices paid will vary according to the site, they explained.
The ISFF has already purchased 440ha (1,100ac) of standing forests near Newport in north Tipperary for €5.5m. This equates to €5,000/ac or €12,500/ha. The fund plans to purchase around 8,500ha of such forests in total.
“We will be extremely disciplined in acquiring sites and we will not overpay for any site,” insisted Joe O’Connell, investment director with Gresham House Ireland. “We have seen inaccurate speculation that the ISFF might pay up to €9,000/ha – the reality is it cannot pay anything like this amount,” he said. “The prices we pay for land will be far lower and the exact price will vary depending on the specifics of individual sites,” he maintained.