By Farmers Weekly staff

IRISH farmers are battling to prevent the cost of wage rises in the food sector being passed back to producers which could see an estimated 150 million sliced off the price paid for produce.

Pat ORourke, president of the Family Farm Association, says the governments economic development plan to increase pay by 15% in the food sector over the next three years was bad news for farming.

He believes many companies would fund the proposed rise by cutting input costs and therefore passing the bill back to agriculture.

“We have told government that cannot happen, especially as many farms have already seen income cut by 20%.

“Instead, it must be financed by increased efficiency in the food processing sector,” says Mr ORourke.