As detailed in the Belfast Telegraph, the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) president, Ian Marshall warns that the industry is on its knees and that changes need to happen in order to avoid disaster. The problems range from very low milk prices, through to beef, lamb, and arable farmers now gearing up to take their protest to the streets.
Mr Marshall claims that the industry is facing the worst agricultural crisis in living memory because most sectors are unsustainable at current market prices. He added that farmers are running out of cash producing products to only sell them below the cost of production. “The dairy industry has highlighted these concerns and brought them to the fore last week by virtue of public protests”, he told the Belfast Telegraph, following public protests at the state of farming, which were staged at several major supermarkets.
Additionally, 85 per cent of the Northern Ireland region’s produce is exported, making the area dependent on export markets and that interest rates are also having an impact. The dairy industry is taking 3-4p dip a litre of product and the red meat sector and grains sector are both rendered uncompetitive, largely down to products traded in sterling being too expensive.
The price the arable sector received for grain went down by 40 per cent over the last two seasons and consumables including seed, fertiliser, sprays, labour and fuel have all experienced rises.
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