Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Questions (276)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

276. 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. [28596/19]

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. Departmental publications such as the Annual Review and Outlook 2018 also report on the costs of farm inputs. Farm output costs, input costs and margins also receive detailed examination each year by Teagasc in their National Farm Survey. International sources used to monitor farm inputs include, Eurostat, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and OECD.

In June 2019, the CSO released its Final Estimate of Output, Input and Income in Agriculture for 2018. This shows that aggregate farm income (operating surplus) decreased by 17% to €2,849 million in 2018. However, this follows an increase of 30% in 2017 against 2016 figures. The overall value of goods output increased by 1.2%, or €96m, to €8,182m. Intermediate consumption increased by €690 million (13%) over 2017, to €6,001 million. The main items giving rise to this increase are feeding stuffs and fertilisers, which increased by €356 million (+27%) and €69 million (+13%) respectively.

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-June covering the period up to April 2019, the CSO indicated that the agricultural output price index increased by 0.3% in April 2019 compared with March 2019. On an annual basis, the agricultural output price index was up 0.9% in April 2019 compared with April 2018. The agricultural input price index increased by 0.1% in April 2019 compared with March 2019. The resulting terms of trade index for the month increased by 0.3% in April 2019. On an annual basis, the agricultural input price index increased by 4.9% in April 2019 compared with April 2018.