IFA President Tim Cullinan said the CSO figures published today on the cost of fertiliser illustrates the very serious inputs crisis at farm level.
“Fertiliser is 127% more expensive than this time last year. At that price, farmers will find it very difficult to afford what’s needed to grow crops this year. As things stand, most co-ops and merchants have suspended sales of fertiliser so farmers don’t have access to what they need,” he said.
The Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue wants farmers to grow more, but this cannot be done if farmers cannot gain access to fertiliser at affordable prices.
“We put it to the Minister last week that the Government would have to come forward with targeted measures to grow more crops and more silage. The key issue here is to tackle input costs particularly fuel, fertiliser and feed,” he said.
He said farm families are under huge pressure because of the savage increases in their costs and there is growing concern among farmers regarding the availability of both feed and fertiliser beyond the coming months. The Government has to get to grips with the issue and provide meaningful support to farmers.
Today’s CSO figures show energy costs up 30% and feed costs up 20%. The recent reduction in excise will do very little to alleviate the pressure on farmers because of the rise in fuel costs.
Tim Cullinan said the lack of urgency at Government level is very worrying.
“At our AGM in January, I called on the Minister to pull the sector together to set up a task force on inputs. While the Minister has belatedly done this, he needs to come forward with concrete funded proposals,” he said.