IFA President John Bryan has claimed that rapidly escalating fuel and energy costs threaten sustained agricultural growth, job creation and Ireland’s prospects for recovery given the over reliance on imported energy, export dependence and distance from market.
He stated that the Government and EU must take action to ensure that energy prices become more competitive and that speculative investment in oil products is contained.
Mr Bryan commented, “Road fuel prices have increased by almost 4% and agricultural diesel prices by 2.5% since the start of the year, just 25 days ago. In the last two years, agricultural diesel has gone up by a massive 54%, while road diesel has increased by almost 35%. Ireland’s competitiveness is being increasingly eroded because of our over reliance on expensive road haulage and our distance from our main markets.”
The IFA President said policy makers must examine opportunities to lower haulage costs through increased transport weight limits and trailer length for agricultural and heavy goods vehicles. In addition he remarked, the Government must move to put viable supports in place to get our bio-energy industry established, as Ireland is being left behind the rest of Europe.
He noted that further increases are in the pipeline not least because of the geopolitical tensions developing between the West and Iran, but also because of sustained speculative investment by funds.
Concluding, John Bryan said, “Ever increasing prices are putting inordinate pressure on farmers’ margins, but also on the agricultural supply and processing sectors, as agricultural goods and inputs tend to be high volume and low value.”