Cullinan: ‘Inputs surge wiping out price gains’

IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Teagasc National Farm Survey for 2021, showing an average increase in family farm incomes of 26 per cent for last year, has been overtaken by dramatic changes in the last six months.

The latest CSO statistic on fertiliser, for example, shows an increase of nearly 180 per cent to the end of April, which, he says, underlines the impact of the inputs crisis on farms and the uncertainty that it’s creating.

“Inputs are rising at a frightening rate and whether it’s fuel, fertiliser or feed, they have wiped out any gain from commodity prices gains, while the value of Direct Payments is being seriously eroded by inflation,” he said.

“The gap between output prices and input costs illustrates how the extraordinary increase in inputs is running far ahead of any commodity price increases, particularly for farmers in the drystock sector. We have repeatedly said the Government and the EU Commission has to step in and support farmers if they want to guarantee food security”.

The IFA President added that EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski had acknowledged during a meeting with the IFA that policy had to re-prioritise in response to the issue.

“No time can be lost in bringing forward measures to assist farmers. These should include targeted supports; maximum co-financing and no further increases in cost of production in Budget 2023,” Mr. Cullinan said.

The IFA President said farmers would be taking a very hard look at investment decisions based on the trend in input costs.

“It’s likely the full effect of what’s happening at the moment will not be felt immediately, but it will severely impact on the long-term productive capacity of the sector into the future,” he concluded.