Smith – Need for Credit to Farmers and Food Industry

AGRICULTURE Minister Brendan Smith has stressed the need for lines of credit to be made available to farmers and the food industry.

The message was delivered in a meeting with the Irish Banking Federation in which the minister said that there is a “continuing need for banks to provide an adequate flow of normal credit”.

The meeting is part of a “series” of meetings Minister Smith is undertaking to highlight the issue.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister Smith acknowledged that the problems related to the flow of credit have eased over the last year, but particular areas of concern remain. The Minister singled out the problems faced by pig farmers…

There appears to be a particular problem in the pig sector, where feed prices have increased rapidly in the past six months without a corresponding response in prices. This is causing particular pressure for many pig farmers who are experiencing difficulties in terms of paying for feed, extend their merchant credit or in securing further funding from their banks.”

Mr Smith noted that the price of pig feed to producers has increased significantly in the last year and is forecast to increase further in the near future, at a time when there is less credit available than during previous feed cost crises, and said that…

The effect of this coincidence of events is that some producers are now unable to pay their feed bill at a time when millers cannot extend credit to producers.”

The Minister said that this regular series of meetings with the Irish Banking Federation have…

proven to be particularly useful and have provided a very useful opportunity for me to impress upon the banks the need to ensure adequate access to funding for the Irish agriculture and the agri-food sector. The sector has proven itself to have been robust and resilient throughout the current economic difficulties and the short-term and long-term prospects for the sector are encouraging. It is vital that the potential growth prospects for the sector are not compromised by a lack of access to adequate funding.”