IFA National Grain Committee Chairman Liam Dunne said that the political establishment and trade buyers must act to stem the deepening income crisis that has developed over the last three years on Irish tillage farms as a result of low grain prices and escalating inputs costs particularly for fertiliser. They must take remedial action immediately.
Mr Dunne said, “The EU Commission needs to take action to limit speculative investment and escalating input costs to protect growers’ incomes. Speculative investment in grains based on investor sentiment, particularly at harvest, has a disproportionate impact on prices. This has had disastrous consequences for Irish tillage farmers over the last three years as the majority of grain in Ireland is traded at harvest off the combine. The EU Commission must urgently tackle fertiliser price cartels and the abuse of a dominant position by a number of larger manufacturers. Fertiliser costs have increased disproportionately over the last two decades, rising by over 250% while grain prices have remained largely static. The Commission’s failure to date to tackle these issues is severely undermining the competitiveness of Irish and European agriculture.”
“The Irish Government must also play their role in restoring a functional and competitive banking sector. Irish farmers are being charged exorbitantly high interest rates for their working capital requirements and this is impacting negatively on incomes.”