Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1007)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1007. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he continues to monitor the cost of farm production inputs with a view to maintaining a livelihood for farm families into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14260/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department continually monitors the cost of farm production inputs by using the most recent data available from both national and international sources.

Official statistics on farm inputs are compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). These statistics are reported on by the CSO in various publications and are available on their website. My Department's publications, such as the Annual Review and Outlook 2018, also report on the costs of farm inputs. Farm output, input costs and margins also receive detailed examination each year by Teagasc in their Annual Review and Outlook. International sources used to monitor farm inputs include, Eurostat, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and OECD.

In March 2019 the CSO released its Preliminary Estimate of Output, Input and Income in Agriculture for 2018. Expenditure on intermediate inputs was up 9.7% in 2018, to €5,759.8 million. The main items giving rise to this increase are feedstuff and fertilisers, which increased by 26.8% and 13.5% respectively. An increase of 26.8% in feedstuffs was partly due to a 19.8% increase in volume. Energy and Lubricants expenditure also was up 8.8%.

Each month the CSO issue the Agricultural Price Indices outlining the changes in output and input indices for a range of agricultural products. In their most recent release issued in mid-March, covering the period up to January 2019, the CSO indicated that the agricultural output price index decreased by 0.9% in January 2019 compared with December 2018. The agricultural input price index was up 0.1% over the same period. Thus, the resulting terms of trade index decreased by 0.9% in January 2019.

On an annual basis, the agricultural input price index increased by 5.7% in January 2019 compared with January 2018. The agricultural output price index was down 3.6% in January 2019, resulting in the terms of trade index decreasing by 8.8%.