Agri-food sector warned 'not to get too carried away'
Published 31/10/2012 | 06:00
Farmers should expand on a gradual basis and not get carried away with the over-blown expectations of growth in the agri-food sector, the conference at Macra na Feirme's 2012 Rally was told at the weekend.
Jim Power, chief economist with Friends First, said volatility in commodity prices would remain "a fact of life" for farmers into the future.
In such a scenario, he said farmers could not depend on the banks to back them through tough years when prices were low and profit margins tight.
"Agriculture is probably the only area of the economy that credit is flowing into reasonably freely at the moment," Mr Power said.
"But if you believe in the wisdom of bankers and the prescience of bankers, think again. They haven't got a God damn clue, they never had, they never will."
Mr Power told the Waterford conference that expectations of continued growth within the agri-food sector were being "blown out of the water".
He said there was a view that businesses working in the food sector had a "licence to print money".
However, Mr Power pointed out that margins in the sector were extremely tight and he warned young farmers not to get carried away with expansion plans.