IFA Inputs Project Team Chairman James McCarthy has said he will be meeting key input suppliers early in the new year, in order to challenge them to do all in their power to reduce farm input prices in 2015.
James McCarthy said that input providers must improve efficiencies and take smaller margins to reflect the serious margin pressure on farms, “With many farm product prices under pressure, input providers have to reflect this in lower prices for inputs and services.”
The IFA Inputs Chairman called for lower input prices to be made available to all farmers, pointing out that IFA surveys consistently show significant savings available to farmers who buy through groups.
James McCarthy stressed that there cannot be upward-only price moves for farm inputs and services. He said that the availability and cost of working capital from the banks to assist farmers also had to be a priority. The Association would be meeting the main pillar banks in the coming weeks and he would be leaving them in no doubt that keenly priced working capital must be provided for the sector to deal with the income squeeze and to reduce the dependence by farmers on expensive merchant and co-op credit.
James McCarthy said that IFA would be challenging the feed mills, fertiliser suppliers and all other main input providers on the need to support their farmer customers with more efficiencies and smarter logistics to lower prices for key inputs. Service providers such as accountants, technical advisers and the legal profession would also have to reduce their charges and start to use the technology at their disposal to build efficiency and pass back savings to their farmer customers.
Mr. McCarthy said the Government would also have to step up to the mark by getting serious about reducing unnecessary administrative costs on farmers and ensuring that the country remains competitive for small businesses. For example, the IFA has proposed a simplified form for making revenue returns for smaller farms with limited transactions. In addition, the Association said there was no justification for the Department diktat that BTAP/STAP advisers must get €500/client. This is simply anti-competitive and would be robustly challenged by IFA.