The fourth annual Genfitt Knowledge report has been released in association with KPMG. The report, based on data from July and August 2019, assesses trends in Irish agribusiness and the outlook for 2020.
In general, there’s been little improvement in the Irish agricultural sector. Just one in three (31 per cent) respondents said their agribusiness had performed better in 2019 than in 2018. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of respondents reported the same performances for this year as last year.
The main issues of concern include Brexit, input costs and availability of finance. This is in direct contrast to 2018, during which Brexit wasn’t affecting trade and the most negatively impacting factor was the weather.
A lack of farm labour emerged as one of the factors affecting the income of Irish farmers as farm contractors are used instead to complete manual jobs. As a result, those in agribusiness are increasingly investing in farm automation and labour-saving technology.
Beef farmers are also feeling the pinch. A drop in demand for beef, due to changing dietary trends, trade issues caused by the prospect of Brexit, and the need to cut down on emissions, due to climate change, have meant that the price of beef has weakened in the past year.
On a positive note, 70 per cent of dairy and tillage farmers enjoyed a good year. Milk prices were sustained in 2019, and despite a recent slight drop, global demand for milk is increasing and the prices are expected to rise in 2020.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: “A positive future for Irish agribusiness is a major government priority and the Genfitt Knowledge Report provides a valuable insight into many of the key issues affecting the sector. It’s a highly worthwhile resource for farmers, policy makers and everyone who has an interest in the future health of this vital part of our economy.”
David Meagher, Head of Agribusiness at KPMG, commented: “As a major advisor to Irish agribusiness, KPMG takes a keen interest in the findings of the Genfitt Knowledge report. It provides clarity on the issues, concerns and opportunities faced by Ireland’s farmers, and those who work with them, in helping to make the most profitable and sustainable decisions for their businesses.”
The Genfitt Knowledge Report has become a ‘must read’ for all stakeholders in Irish agriculture, according to Paul Duggan, Chairman of Genfitt. “As a major supplier to the agribusiness sector, we place a high value on ensuring that all stakeholders are equipped with the knowledge and insight they need. At a time of great change for Irish farming, we are proud to play a role in helping to provide a voice for the sector as it faces both challenges and opportunities.”