By FWi staff

IRISH farmers have less time than most to get used to the Euro.

The Irish Punt will cease to be legal tender in the Republic from 9 February, three weeks earlier than most other euro-zone countries.

According to Irish Farmers Association president Tom Parlon, farmers have got to “think on their feet”.

They must familiarise themselves with the value of the Euro, especially when it comes to trading livestock, he said.

But he is convinced the effort will be worthwhile:

“The major benefit of the Euro to farmers is price transparency,” he says.

“Irish farmers sell farm products each year worth Euro3.8 billion (IR3bn) and purchase farm inputs, both current and capital, costing over Euro2.5bn (IR2bn).”

In the past, direct price comparisons with Continental competitors have been complicated by currency factors; now straight comparisons will be possible in Euros.

The IFA also points to lower interest rates and reduced costs of doing business in a market of 300m people.

But there are potential pitfalls as producers adopt the new currency, not least getting used to the conversion rate.

However, fears that the changeover would allow buyers and suppliers to gain a price advantage have been met by a Code of Practice requiring dual pricing and exact conversions, says Mr Parlon.