Following a meeting of the IFA Farm Business Committee, National Chairman Tom Doyle has reiterated his call for the banks and other stakeholders in the agri-food sector to support farmers under cashflow pressures and help them to work towards a sustainable position during the year ahead.
He said, “With strong product prices, there is a positive outlook for farming in 2013, and it is in the interests of all involved in the agri-food sector that farmers are supported to work through this difficult time and emerge with a viable business”.
Tom Doyle continued, “While the recent improvement in the weather conditions for grass growth is very welcome, the difficulties arising from the increased costs that farmers have had to face over the last six months will not clear immediately. Across the country, the dreadful weather conditions, combined with the high costs of inputs have contributed to severe difficulties on farm, with fodder shortages and cashflow pressures”.
IFA has been in contact with all of the main banks, to repeat our call for a proactive approach to be taken with customers and to support viable customers through:
Extending working capital to farmers and the agri-supply sector to cover increased feed and other input costs;
Communicating early with customers under pressure to alleviate cash-flow difficulties;
Providing flexible and affordable restructuring options to relieve pressure on incomes; and
Taking prompt decisions on all loan applications, whether short-term cashflow alleviation, or longer-term credit.
“We have also asked the banks to work with customers who may have built up high-cost merchant credit, and asked them to support those farmers, where possible, by converting this credit into a longer-term, more sustainable, bank loan”.
He concluded, “I am urging farmers to also be proactive and to take action to deal with their cashflow problems. IFA will continue to assist farmers at local level and we are asking all stakeholders and service providers, including the banks, merchants, co-ops, Teagasc and other agri-advisory services, to provide assistance to farmers and to develop a sustainable plan to address their difficulties.”