IFA President John Bryan has expressed grave disappointment at the huge disparity in today’s CSO farm income figures compared to the provisional figures released last December. At the time, the CSO showed a 46% increase in farm incomes for 2010; this has been revised down to 31.5%.
Mr Bryan welcomed the correction from the CSO, which he said is in line with IFA’s own estimates at the end of last year. He said such discrepancies must be avoided in the future.
John Bryan said the income increase indicates a recovery in the sector after two very difficult years in agriculture, where incomes dropped by over 40%. “However, escalating fuel, feed and fertiliser costs are threatening the recovery and adding to volatility, which has the potential to undermine production as our model of family farming cannot absorb the impact of a ‘boom-bust’ cycle.”
He pointed out that based on today’s figures, average farm income stands at €16,000. “The Single Farm Payment and the farm schemes are crucial for all farm families and continue to make up a very significant proportion of net farm income.”
He said a fair price is still not being returned to primary producers, especially in the meat sector. “It is more urgent than ever for national Governments and the EU to secure greater equity in the food supply chain. They must ensure a fair proportion of the consumer price goes to food producers by controlling the dominance of retailers.”
Concluding, the IFA President said, “Retailers will have to pass back some of their excessive margins to producers across all commodities – milk, beef, lamb, pigs, poultry, eggs and fresh produce – to reflect increasing on-farm production costs.”