FTMTA Submission to Agri-taxation Review
The Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) recently submitted a response to the public consultation paper on the agri-taxation review undertaken by the Department of Finance and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
The FTMTA submission highlights that the targets for increased agricultural output in the Food Harvest 2020 strategy will require increased agricultural mechanisation both in terms of scale and technology and states that such advances can only be delivered by a strong and locally based agricultural machinery industry. For example the target of a 50% increase in milk production will obviously require an expansion of the dairy herd and considerable improvements in output from dairy cows. Such improvements will necessitate increased feeding and slurry / dung management facilities and will require substantial investment in silage making equipment, feeding systems and slurry / dung spreading machinery. The pool of silage making equipment in the country has suffered from a low level of investment in recent years and is in urgent need of renewal merely to be able to deal with current levels of output. If Government does not act to facilitate such investment. FTMTA says that it is difficult to see how Irish farmers will be able to meet the Food Harvest 2020 goals for primary production. As a country we want our farmers to produce the ingredients for world class food production but we seem to expect them to do so with obsolete technology.
The FTMTA submission advocates the consideration by Government of the introduction of a period of accelerated capital investment allowances to facilitate the much needed upgrading of the farm machinery available to Irish agriculture. The introduction of such allowances would result in the parallel benefits of allowing Irish farmers to reequip with the machinery needed to efficiently deliver increased output while also providing a much needed boost to the Irish farm machinery sector at no cost to the State.
Given the high percentage of the relevant machinery which is produced in Ireland, much of the revenue generated at manufacturer level by any additional sales would stay in Ireland supporting Irish firms and their employees. The potential increase in business at the retail dealership level may well be the factor that will allow some small businesses to continue to trade. A strong, local farm machinery dealer is an essential prerequisite for modern farming and is even more important in Ireland if the Food Harvest 2020 strategy is to be given the support needed for success.