Fuel and fertilizer prices are an ‘immediate issue that needs to be addressed’, farmers warn

The country’s young farmers have said a support package for the agricultural industry needs to be negotiated “urgently” in the shadow of Ukraine’s invasion.

Irish farmers have been instructed by the government to grow crops specifically to eliminate Ireland’s reliance on certain foodstuffs from Russia and Ukraine due to the ongoing invasion.

The plan to get farmers to grow wheat and other crops, announced last weekend, signaled a significant change in farming practices for the Irish farming community.

Back to Growing Crops

Under the plan, cattle farmers will be encouraged to grow small amounts of grain for their own on-farm consumption, while thousands of farmers who have moved away from tillage in recent years will be encouraged to return. to the cultivation of cultures.

However, following the first meeting of the National Fodder and Food Security Committee, Macra na Feirme National Chairman John Keane said that “it is clear that the funding package to support the agricultural sector must be urgently negotiated with the agricultural actors”. .

The new committee was set up following a meeting between Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue and agriculture representatives on Tuesday to discuss the crisis situation.

Mr Keane said the new committee “clearly has limitations in terms of funding and regulatory change”.

He said his group had raised the issue of fuel and fertilizer costs at the meeting as “an immediate issue that needs to be addressed”.

“There are parts of the country where supply is an issue with contractors and farmers struggling to get the quantities needed for standard operations,” he said, adding that while the government is “serious about the idea of ​​solving the problem”, a support program for agricultural fuels should be put in place. introduced “to make sure food stays on the shelves”.

“A 2c or a 32c [cut in prices] not enough,” he said.

“Farmers and entrepreneurs have to go to the fields. We have a very short window in the next few days and weeks to ensure the best start to our crops. Farmers need clear indications of the support that will be made available. »

“Rising input prices”

His comments were echoed by the chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association National Grains Committee, Kieran McEvoy, who said the country is facing a situation where it is producing less grain “due to soaring grain prices inputs”.

“Farmers need more excise and carbon tax cuts. It is essential that adequate supplies of agro-diesel are available during the key months of spring and summer when crop planting and harvesting takes place,” Mr McEvoy said, adding that at current prices, each cultivated hectare will cost an additional €100 to produce cereals. .

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