An EU survey has found that 48% of Irish people believe the agricultural sector is very important to the country's future, an increase of 10% over the last two years.

Read the full Eurobarometer survey

The survey finds that 86% of people in Ireland, and on average 90% of Europeans, either thought support for agriculture was ‘important’ or ‘very important’.

The Eurobarometer survey was conducted here between November and December of last year by TNS Opinion & Social.

European Commission Representation in Ireland Eddie McVeigh the says the Common Agricultural Policy is one of the largest parts of the European Union's budget at €43bn in 2010.

He says it is vital for the Commission to know how the public feels about agriculture when making decisions on the sector.

The findings also showed that 62% of Irish people have knowledge of CAP. This is the third highest in Europe after France and Lithuania.

59% of Europeans place a higher importance on food quality and safety, while 49% say price is more important.

In contrast, 61% of Irish consumers think that ensuring a fair standard of living for farmers is more of a priority. This is second in the EU after Romania.

Irish people by and large think that CAP is doing a much better job than two years ago with 58% of people now saying it has helped secure food supply, a 13% increase.

Nearly 60% of all respondents are ready to pay 10% more for agricultural products if they are produced in a way that does not increase climate change.

However, when the same question was asked in Ireland, only 42% of those who responded said they were prepared to do so, the second lowest in Europe.