IFA President Tim Cullinan
Irish farming is facing into a very challenging year as the costs of doing business threaten to wipe out some of the modest gains made in 2021, according to IFA President Tim Cullinan.
Mr Cullinan raised fears that family farms could be overwhelmed by the steep increases in costs such as feed, energy and fertiliser.
Input costs have risen by 15% (Source: CSO) in 2021, but the signs for 2022 are hugely concerning, he said.
Mr Cullinan said he hoped the new year would bring a more mature and positive discussion on climate action.
“As farmers, we continue to produce high-quality, safe and nutritious food. While a vocal minority has been attempting to vilify farmers, the vast majority of people support Irish farming and are proud of our countryside and the food produced by Irish farmers,” he said.
Overall, the IFA President said farm families are fearful that their incomes are being sacrificed without a clear plan for the sector at farm level.
“We need real engagement with the Government to devise a properly-funded Climate Plan that strikes the right balance between environmental, economic and social sustainability. This will be our focus in 2022,” he said.
“Policymakers here and in Brussels have to recognise that while farmers are willing to undertake more environmental actions, their incomes must be protected,” he said.
The Irish CAP Strategic Plan has been approved by the Government and sent to Brussels. The plan, like almost all of their policies, will put more costs on productive farmers, while their supports are being undermined by policy decisions and inflation, he went on to say.
“Policy makers are not putting sufficient value on food production and our retailers continue to undermine the value of our produce by using it as a loss leader. This is not sustainable and I believe those in power will come to regret this short-sighted move, which encourages farmers to produce less. Our global population is increasing and the world will need more food, not less,” he said.
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