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Fertiliser price fix ‘scandal’ faces EU scrutiny

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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

Key moves on animal transport get the nod

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MEP Billy Kelleher: Key amendments passed.

LOCAL and national farm representatives have welcomed the adoption of amendments proposed by an Irish MEP in relation to the transportation of live animals across the EU.

The amendments proposed by Munster Fianna Fáil Munster MEP, Billy Kelleher, means less severe restrictions will apply in relation to calf and pregnant animal travel.

In 2020, the European Parliament set up an ANIT (Committee of Inquiry into Animal Transport) to investigate alleged violations of EU animal transport rules.

The Committee concluded that EU provisions in the area of animal transport were not always complied with in member states and did not fully take into account ‘the different needs of animals’.

Last week, MEPs voted by 557 to 55 (78 absentions) supporting new measures to address animal travel issues, including lack of headroom, water and food supplies, animals for travel being transported, and overcrowding.

However, a number of Irish MEPs led by Billy Kelleher proposed two amendments to the proposals, which were accepted in the overall vote in the European Parliament.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

HSA blitz on safety with animals

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Cows are at their most volatile and dangerous at calving time.

A TWO-WEEK farm inspection campaign by the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) aims to highlight the serious dangers posed by animals during the calving season which is due to get into full swing over the next fortnight.

According to the HSA, while there was a ‘significant decline’ in farm fatalities during 2021, there were still far too many deaths in agriculture over the past year.

Three people died as a result of accidents while working with cattle in 2021, while of the 196 people who died in farming incidents over the past decade, 38 of those were in the livestock sector.

The HSA has asked all farmers to ensure that the following five questions are answered to their satisfaction when working with livestock.

■ Is there a plan in place to minimise the risk of attack?

■ Has an adequate physical barrier been established between the farmer and the freshly calved cow when tagging, treating and handling calves?

■ Is there adequate lighting in the yard and farm buildings?

■ Do you need help? Are the extra resources trained and experienced?

■ Are facilities and procedures adequate for loading and unloading animals?

Galway IFA Dairy Committee Representative, Noel Murphy, told the Farming Tribune that farmers always needed to guard against complacency when dealing with dangers on the farm and especially so with machinery and animals.

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

Farm buildings can be used as business hubs in rural areas

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Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind)

RURAL farm buildings should be utilised for small business enterprises which would supplement the income of landowners as well as creating some local employment in the process.

This was the view of the vast majority of Galway councillors who passed a motion that buildings directly relating to farming be considered for other purposes that would be financially advantageous to the owners.

The matter came up for discussion at a meeting of the Galway County Development Plan when it was suggested that the farming community needed to be allowed develop small business opportunities.

A motion from Cllr. Declan Geraghty (Ind) – deviating slightly from Galway County Council policy – proposed that they be allowed carry out businesses such as the servicing and repair of machinery, land reclamation, drainage works, and agricultural contracting was carried.

The motion added that this be allowed where it is financially advantageous to locate in a given area and where it would not have an adverse impact on the environment.

The Williamstown councillor said that it could result in hundreds of small business enterprises being developed out of farm buildings.

“At the moment they cannot get planning permission for such enterprises given that they are located in a rural area,” he argued.

He was supported by Cllr. Pete Roche (FG) who went further by saying that even the establishment of pet farms or animal farms that could be opened up to the public were also options that could be considered.

“There are farm families at the moment who cannot earn a decent living out of agriculture alone and would relish the opportunity to diversify,” he added.

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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