11 JANUARY 2017
ICSA beef chairman Edmond Phelan said that the announcement of record food and drink exports of €11.15 billion for 2016 demonstrates yet again that farmers are bring used to make others rich. “It is remarkable that a year like 2016 which stood out in terms of income collapse for tillage and dairy farmers, along with substantial price falls in the cattle sector, should still deliver record export earnings.
This proves again that the focus of Food Wise 2025 – increasing food and drink exports to €19 billion – does not provide any solution to the key problem of more and more farmers becoming less and less viable. Policy must focus on farm incomes and that’s why ICSA is looking at a radically different approach of less is more, when it comes to farm profits.”
Mr Phelan said that the Bord Bia analysis that Brexit impacts had cost food and drink exporters about €570 million was not strictly accurate. “While companies exporting to the UK certainly faced revenue reductions from currency exchange, the reality is that they pass a lot of this back to the primary producer in terms of lower farm gate price and therefore losses of €570 million are not all carried by food companies.
As we have seen in previous years, these companies are often slow to pass back the benefits when sterling increases. Overall, the reality is that increased output is doing nothing for farmers but it makes for good headlines.”