Potatoes escape industry decline

14 February 2000

Potatoes escape industry decline

OUTPUT from every major agricultural product with the exception of
potatoes declined between 1998 and 1999, notes Jimmy McClean, head of
agricultural services at the Royal Bank of Scotland, in an analysis of the

Taking the total income from farming indicators, figures used by the
ministry of agriculture, he notes that costs have now been firmly squeezed
on feedstuffs, fertilisers and seeds.

But there were costs outside the farmers control that outweighed the
savings made through improved efficiency. These included fuel and oil prices
and staff costs.

McClean makes a poor prognosis of future prospects. The weakness of the
euro will translate to a further reduction in support payments over
commodity prices.

Other factors expected to play a depressing part include inflationary
pressures on overhead costs and rising interest rates.

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