Ahead of the meeting with the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue this evening, IFA has said that farmers will play their part in any national effort to bolster the country’s capacity to produce more food.
“The Minister must come forward with real proposals that will increase capacity, not just soundbites. IFA had developed a number of proposals which we will put forward at this evening’s meeting,” he said.
“There must be a focus on growing more grass for silage as well as more crops. The key issue here is to tackle input costs particularly fuel, fertiliser and feed,” he said.
“The Government needs to reduce excise on fuel and suspend the carbon tax for 2022 for farmers and contractors,” he said.
“The Minister needs to introduce a targeted scheme to support the use of fertilisers for growing more crops and grass silage,” he said.
“The pig and poultry sector are under huge pressure and the Minister must look at further measures to keep these sectors in business and producing food,” he said.
“DAFM needs to do an immediate inventory of all fertiliser, feed, seed and other inputs in the country,” he said.
“Since this Government has taken office, they have done nothing but try to reduce output at farm level, but now they have rightly realised the importance of food security,” he said.
He said support for existing tillage farmers, including potato farmers who may be better placed to switch to tillage crops than farmers with pasture, was important. This should include a suspension of the three-crop rule.
“Farmers growing protected crops and heating greenhouses have also seen huge increases in their costs and cannot be overlooked,” he said.
The IFA President said maximum use must also be made of organic fertiliser, the value of which has risen given the dramatic increase in the price of fertiliser.
Tim Cullinan said the Department will also have to look at some of their own regulations which are restricting food production.
He said he would be looking for flexibility under GLAS measures at this evening’s meeting, including the technical rules on wild bird cover and low input pasture.
“We also need to ensure that any farmer who decides to reduce their stock to grow more silage or crops is not impacted from a tax perspective,” he said.