IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Teagasc National Farm Survey for 2021 showing an average increase in family farm incomes of 26% for last year has been overtaken by dramatic changes in the last six months.
The latest CSO statistic on fertiliser, for example, shows an increase of nearly 180% to the end of April. This underlines the impact of the inputs crisis on farms and the uncertainty that it’s creating.
“Inputs are rising at a frightening rate and whether it’s fuel, fertiliser or feed, they have wiped out any gain from commodity prices gains, while the value of Direct Payments is being seriously eroded by inflation,” he said.
“The gap between output prices and input costs illustrates how the extraordinary increase in inputs is running far ahead of any commodity price increases, particularly for farmers in the drystock sector. We have repeatedly said the Government and the EU Commission has to step in and support farmers if they want to guarantee food security,” he said.
“The EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski acknowledged during his meeting with the IFA National Council last month that policy has to re-prioritise in response to the scale of this issue. No time can be lost in bringing forward measures to assist farmers. These should include targeted supports; maximum co-financing and no further increases in cost of production in Budget 2023.” he said.
The IFA President said farmers will be taking a very hard look at investment decisions based on the trend in input costs.
“It’s likely the full effect of what’s happening at the moment will not be felt immediately, but it will severely impact on the long-term productive capacity of the sector into the future,” he said.