The Rural Independent Group of TDs is calling on the government to provide emergency financial aid to farm families as input costs for feed, fertiliser, and fuel continue to skyrocket, threatening the viability of Irish farms and their ability to compete with farmers in other jurisdictions
Speaking from Tipperary on Tuesday, March 14th, the group’s leader, Deputy Mattie McGrath, highlighted:
“The alarming data from the CSO, which estimates that input costs for farmers skyrocketed by 26% to €7.7bn in 2022, continues to be ignored or wished away by the government.”
“The figures show that farmers across all sectors have been struggling to cope with the unprecedented and crippling costs of essential inputs, such as feed, fertiliser, and fuel. For example, fertiliser prices nearly doubled last year, with farmers paying a staggering €1.2bn. However, the actual price increase was a staggering 137% when accounting for the fact that farmers used 16% less fertiliser in 2022. This represents a 195% increase from mid-2021.”
“Similarly, feed costs rose by 29%, with Irish farmers paying €2.4bn last year to feed their animals. Meanwhile, energy and fuel costs were over 45% higher, with farmers spending €662m on this vital input. Despite these soaring input costs, basic sales prices for produce and livestock failed to match them.”
“The recent Ifac annual Farm Report further highlights the dire impact of the cost-of-living crisis and input cost inflation on farm families, with 75% of respondents identifying input prices as their biggest worry for 2023. The report shows that input prices have already increased by at least 10% since last year, while Teagasc has predicted that sustained high input costs will continue to ravage farm incomes throughout the current year.”
“Therefore, the Rural Independent Group is demanding urgent action to address these challenges, including an emergency aid package to help Irish farm holdings remain economically viable and competitive with farmers in other countries. We are calling for a similar aid package to the €300m approved by the Spanish government to support their farmers. The Spanish package involves direct payments to farmers on a per-hectare basis, up to a maximum of 300 hectares, benefiting 250,000 farmers. We are also urging the government to immediately implement a specific sheep scheme, with a minimum payment of €30 per ewe.”
“Despite the accumulated increase in input costs, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has failed to provide any comparable support for Irish farmers. The Rural Independent Group is therefore urging the government to wake up to the urgent need for emergency aid and support Irish farmers,” concluded Deputy McGrath.