IFA National Grain Chairman Kieran McEvoy said the tillage support scheme announced yesterday by Minister McConalogue is ‘way off the mark’.
“Not putting national funding alongside the €7.1m EU Agricultural Reserve for the tillage sector was a missed opportunity that the Minister must fix in the upcoming Budget,” he said.
The €11 per acre payment is miniscule compared to the financial challenges on the ground, in a year when growers are hit with a significant drop in cereal prices; moderate to very poor grain yields in all crops; and very high input costs.
“Some farmers are still battling to try and salvage what they can from the last of the harvest. Some crops will be left in the ground. Margins are being decimated. Negative or minimal financial returns will be the norm for growers in 2023,” he said.
Kieran McEvoy said the Minister has seriously underestimated the challenge on the ground and underdelivered with this latest scheme. It certainly could have been a lot more meaningful, because the Commission gave Member States the opportunity to complement agricultural reserve funding with 200% funding from the National Exchequer.
“That would have been another €14m plus into the scheme that certainly would have made it more meaningful for struggling farmers. The Minister instead has chosen, or failed to deliver, at a time when tillage farmers are being decimated. It’s very demoralising,” he said.
“Confidence is low among tillage farmers and action is needed to try and ensure the tillage area does not decline further in 2024,” Kieran McEvoy concluded.