ICMSA warns banks on rates
A warning shot has been fired across the bow of the Irish banking sector on uncompetitive interest rates for farmers.
ICMSA president Jackie Cahill warned that farmers would move their business outside of the State unless charges are brought into line.
Speaking at the 60th annual general meeting of the ICMSA, Mr Cahill said the farmer body was in the process of developing alternate sources of farm finance.
"ICMSA has, in conjunction with co-ops, developed a plan to secure farm finance from non-Irish banks in the euro area if the margins charged by Irish banks move significantly out of line with other countries," Mr Cahill said.
He also called for the Commission for Electricity Regulation to be abolished and electricity costs reduced in line with neighbouring economies.
The ICMSA leader said input costs to farming had to be challenged if the industry, which was responsible for 255,000 jobs, was to meet the ambitious growth targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 report.
He told the 300 delegates that every 1pc increase in interest rates was adding €50m to Irish farm production costs annually.