President Pat O’Rourke said the report confirmed that the largest income decline last year took place on dairy farms with an 18% income drop. Overall farm incomes fell by 5.8%.
Warning that CAP reform will not help in the future, he said it was crucial that Farm Minister Joe Walsh concentrates on minimising the negative affect the deal is going to have on the dairy sector.
Mr O’Rourke called for the setting up of a high level group to identify measures to improve farm incomes. Measures agreed in Sustaining Progress must also be implemented as soon as possible.
“The farm sector is in crisis and a high level group on farm incomes is required as a matter of urgency to develop solutions to the problems facing the industry,” he said.
Fine Gael spokesperson Billy Timmins called on the Government to immediately publish its proposals for restructuring the dairy industry.
But it must also address the worrying decline in farm incomes.
Average farm income last year dropped by 5.8% to €14,925, compared to €15,840 in 2001.
ICSA president John Deegan said that the survey figures confirm the view that the current system is not working and that CAP reform was unavoidable.