ICSA president Dermot Kelleher said that the government needs to understand that food and energy security are now seriously at stake in Ireland and across the EU. Following last night’s meeting between the three ministers in the Department of Agriculture and the farm organisations, Mr Kelleher emphasised that farmers cannot continue to supply food at current prices in the face of runaway inflation in inputs like fuel, fertiliser, and feed.
“ICSA strongly argued that agricultural diesel would have to be supported as much as auto diesel. This morning’s announcement on a 15-20c/L cut on auto fuels but just 2c/L for green diesel is a red rag to a bull for farmers. Some people who drive to work can work from home, but you can’t work from home if you are cutting silage. The Minister for Agriculture must now immediately get a solution in talks with the Minister for Finance for a real solution on the green diesel price. We also argued for a voucher to help lower-income small and medium sized farmers buy fertiliser.”
“It is simply untenable to expect farmers to keep producing food with rapidly escalating costs. We have spent the last few years fighting very hard to keep European food security as a central objective in the CAP but too many so-called experts in Brussels were too complacent and wanted to create a CAP that was actively trying to reduce food production.”
“We also argued strongly that now is the time to deliver an ambitious action plan to ramp up renewable energy production in the EU. We need a roadmap to help farmers to deliver a massive increase in biogas, biofuel, and solar energy. This means no more sitting on the fence at bureaucratic level and it means a stable pricing environment at a viable price over a ten-year period to make such investments feasible.
The reality is that the Ukraine tragedy is very much linked to Europe’s reckless dependency on Russian gas and oil, which has made the EU members very weak in taming Putin’s expansionist strategy. The frustrating thing is that there is massive potential for farmers to deliver much more renewable energy, which is also positive on the climate agenda, as well as helping rural communities. It would also help farmers to ride out input cost spikes if they had other income streams alongside food production.”
“The farm organisations were very frustrated that there seemed to be a lack of ideas at government level, judging by last night’s meeting, and although we welcome the immediate setting up of a food security committee, it is now urgent that the government bring forward concrete proposals to help counteract rocketing costs.”