Gildernew concern at drop in agricultural income
Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has expressed concern at the reported fall in agricultural income for 2008, as indicated by DARD figures published today.
Discussing the figures the Minister said: "The figures confirm what those in the industry were only too well aware. Last year was a roller coaster year in terms of output prices and input costs. The overall reduction in 2008 agricultural income reflects the fact that the cost of key inputs such as feedstuff, fertiliser and fuel were greatly increased from previous years. This was more than enough to offset the gains in the value of output that were also recorded.
The Minister continued: "We enter 2009 facing considerable uncertainty. Although beef and sheep prices have been showing welcome increases, and feed, fuel and fertiliser costs are easing, the dairy sector is facing some very difficult market conditions. I hope that the reintroduction of export subsidies for dairy products, for which I and others have fought hard, will bring some early improvement in producer prices. I will certainly continue to do all that I can to help improve the position of all farmers in the coming year."