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Fertiliser price fix ‘scandal’ faces EU scrutiny

Francis Farragher

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Joe, Aishling, Daniel and Conor Fehilly, Barnaderg at the Templetuohy Farm Machinery (TFM) Open Day last week in Tuam. PHOTO: JOHNNY RYAN PHOTOGRAPHY.

GALWAY IFA representatives are calling for ‘immediate action’ to correct the ‘imbalance’ in fertiliser prices across the EU and Ireland caused mainly by the imposition of tariffs on Russian imports.

With dairy and grain farmers looking set to face a tough year on the prices front, a reduction in the fertiliser input cost would be a major help in balancing the books at the end of the year.

Galway IFA Environment Representative Bertie Roche said that the scandal of excessive fertiliser prices in Ireland had to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“The tariff on Russian imports alone could mean a difference of around €50 per tonne to farmers here in the West of Ireland – that is just a cost factor that has to be addressed,” said Bertie Roche.

He said that the fertiliser price situation was further exacerbated by the fact that there were only two production facilities across the EU while further hikes were being imposed by Irish distributors.

“We are facing into a very difficult year in the dairy sector with ongoing downward pressure on prices while grain farmers are also looking at a tough year ahead on the price front.

“At least if there was a noticeable cut in the price of fertiliser – which we now firmly believe is entirely achievable – it would be a help to hard-pressed farmers,” said Bertie Roche.

According to the findings of a report commissioned by the IFA, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) found that existing trade barriers are costing European farmers nearly €1 billion in import duties.

The IFPRI report was presented to the EU Commission by the IFA this week and states that the complete removal of all duties from fertiliser would be a beneficial reform for the European economy.

Galway IFA Rural Development Representative, Eamonn Burke told the Farming Tribune that the new report would now provide the necessary information to bring about a change in the overall EU policy on fertiliser prices and import tariffs.

“It is quite clear that the leeway is there to bring about a significant reduction in the price that Irish farmers are paying for fertilisers. It is unacceptable that farmers are being saddled with the tariff charges on fertilisers,” said Eamonn Burke.

Ammonium nitrates imports from Russia are being ‘hit’ with are called ‘anti-dumping tariffs’ of €47 per tonne. Import duties on nitrogen and phosphate imports to the EU work out at between €15 and €25 per tonne.

 

Connacht Tribune

Minister outlines ‘tough road ahead’

Francis Farragher

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Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue

A CRITICAL part of the eventual CAP deal for farmers will rest with the flexibility of the Irish Government to make its own decisions on where the money will be allocated, Minister for Agriculture, Charlie McConalogue, told the Farming Tribune last week.

During a whistle-stop tour of a number of agri-related projects in Galway last Thursday, Minister McConalogue said that as things stood, the major stumbling block to an agreement was the European Parliament.

“There are really two aspects of this deal which will be of vital importance to Irish farmers over the coming years – the flexibility to make our own decisions and the percentage of the funding to be spent on ECO schemes,” said Charlie McConalogue.

He said that while some progress had been made at the end of last month’s Trilogue negotiations [EU Commission, Council and European Parliament], it had not been possible to reach an agreement.

“As things stand, what’s blocking a final agreement is the European Parliament part of that Trilogue. We are trying to reach compromises on the issue of convergence, and the ECO scheme element of the payments, but this hasn’t been possible with the parliament so far,” said the Minister.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry tractor protest seeking support

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IFA President,Tim Cullinan,

GALWAY IFA are calling for a major show of strength at their tractor cavalcade in Athenry this Friday morning (11am), as part of a nationwide farmers’ rally.

Tractors, cars and jeeps have been asked to assemble at Athenry Mart on Friday (10.30am) for the planned hour-long (maximum) drive through the town.

However, the organisers have stressed that they  will be doing everything to ensure that there won’t be any undue traffic disruptions or delays caused by the protest.

“We are conscious of the fact that the Leaving Cert examinations have started this week so we will be liaising with Gardaí to make sure that we don’t impact on this.

“We are also very much aware of the Covid-19 public health situation which is why our demonstrations across the country are confined to vehicles only,” said Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell.

The Galway event will coincide with similar gatherings in county towns across the country on Friday to highlight what the IFA describe as the threats being posed to commercial farming across the country on a number of fronts.

In what will be the first large scale national demonstration by IFA  since the start of the pandemic in March, 2020, farmers will be highlighting major concerns they have over the new CAP proposals and the Climate Action Bill.

“The farming and food sector employs 300,000 people across the country and contributed €13 billion of exports in 2020.

“Towns across the county including the likes of Athenry, Loughrea, Gort, Tuam, Ballinasloe, Oughterard and Clifden, rely heavily on the rural economy to survive.

“Any reduction in activity in agriculture will hit them hard,” said Anne Mitchell.

IFA President,Tim Cullinan, met Taoiseach Micheál Martin last week, where he told him that the current direction of the CAP and the Government’s Climate Action Bill could shut down commercial farming in Ireland.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

No deal is better than a bad one

Francis Farragher

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

LAST week’s ‘no deal’ result from the CAP negotiations in Brussels was a far better outcome than a ‘bad deal’, according to the IFA’s senior Connacht representative.

Pat Murphy, Connacht IFA Chair, told the Farming Tribune, that he was far happier to hear of a no-deal outcome on Friday rather than pushing through a package of proposals that could be disastrous for Irish farmers.

“The way I look at what’s being proposed is that the so-called winners in this deal will win very little while the losers will lose a lot. We need a lot more concessions to make this deal anyway positive for Irish farmers,” said Pat Murphy.

He said that in terms of the logistics of the negotiations, the three weeks before the end of June – when the Portuguese presidency of the EU comes to an end – would be very important in terms of getting compromises on key issues.

Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, said on Friday that he was disappointed that no CAP deal could be agreed last week at the Trilogue talks (EU Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament).

“The last few days have been very challenging. For its part, the Council has shown a willingness to negotiate and to seek a compromise that will allow the new CAP framework to be finalised.

“Our farmers need this, and time is running short if we are to have it in place by January 2023 – the alternative does not bear thinking about. However, we must ensure that we deliver a CAP that will have the maximum flexibility for us to make our own decisions,” said Minister McConalogue.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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