IFA: Don’t leave farmers in limbo over inputs crisis!

IFA National Farm Business Chairperson, Rose Mary McDonagh, has said that farmers cannot be left in limbo over spiralling input costs.

  “It’s simply just not sustainable at current levels. Farmers cannot be left in limbo and expected to carry on regardless, to simply suck up the uncertainty and take the losses to ensure food security for Irish consumers. Many operations will simply go out of business if nothing changes soon,” she said.

  The Farm Business Chair said more forward thinking and swift strategic action was needed from Government and right across the supply chain.

  “Unlike others, farmers haven’t the luxury of being able to pass on the added cost of production to others, and we cannot be left to carry all the risk and cost of the energy crisis,” she said.

  “There’s no point investing in crops now if there’s no fertiliser to support its growth along the way, or even fuel for the agri-contractors to harvest it. Detailed inventories on fertiliser, fuel, and feed stocks must be completed as a matter of urgency and priority given to farmers and contractors to preserve food and feed security”.

  Ms. McDonagh also called for more clarity in relation to EU funding: “We’ve been told we’re getting over €15 million from the EU Crisis Reserve Fund and that Government can top-up to close to €50 million, but we’ve no clarity if this will happen, or what kind of supports are potentially going to be made available”.

  While describing the establishment of a fodder and food security group and the provision of increased TAMS investment as “important first steps”, the Farm Business Chair said further supports are needed.

  “Farmers had to pay up-front to secure necessary inputs this spring. Before, they may have purchased on credit and paid during peak milk; when stock were sold; or the harvest complete. Financial institutions need to take a flexible and understanding approach and support those most impacted, ensuring a swift turnaround in the provision of low-cost working capital,” she added.

  She also called on traders and processors to offer electronic funds transfers and highlighted the ongoing withdrawal of Ulster Bank from the Irish market.

  “We must avoid any situation where farmers have no functional business current account/overdraft to maintain on-farm operations. Farmers themselves will need to act and do what is right for themselves, but they need clear direction and support to make the transition or switching process as seamless as possible,” she concluded.