On-farm investment down in 2015, but farm building is on the increase
Total on-farm investment for 2015, which includes breeding stock, was valued at €713m, which is a 9% decrease (or €141m drop) on 2014 figures, according to the Department of Agriculture’s latest Annual Review and Outlook report.
The figures, which are from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that while overall investment was down, investment in farm buildings was slightly up on 2014.
According to the figures, in 2014, farmers spent just over €200m on farm buildings and in 2015 this increased to approximately €220m.
This increase could be attributed to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) which provides farmers with grant aid to improve and/or build a specific range of farm buildings.
Farmers with approvals have started building under the scheme and to date 33% of TAMS approvals have issued to farmers to date, but payments have yet to commence to farmers.
Meanwhile, investment in agricultural machinery and equipment has declined on 2014 levels, the figures show.
Overall, the annual review found that gross fixed capital formation, or capital investment, in agriculture has grown considerably since its dramatic collapse back in 2009.
Most of the decrease in 2009 was attributable to the end of the Farm Waste Management Scheme, which required that all building work be completed by the end of 2008, the Department has said.
The latest data from the Central Bank shows that the primary agriculture sector was the largest component of new lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), accounting for €734m or 28% of all new loans (excluding financial and property) in 2015.
In 2014, €600m was borrowed in the agricultural sector and this figure increased to €649m last year, the figures show.
During the same period (2015), new lending to food and beverage companies was €97m, or 4% of the total.
However, the report found that total outstanding borrowings held by the primary sector continued to decline as loan repayments increased.