Tough times make Royal Welsh bad for business
APPALLING weather and reduced farm incomes made the 1998 Royal Welsh a miserable event for many machinery companies.
While there were good business reasons for appearing upbeat – and plenty of new equipment – people selling UK-built tackle admitted off the record that trading conditions were tough.
In contrast, importers were capitalising on the strength of sterling to offer good deals, though all firms found orders hard to get.
Delayed investment in new tackle worried farmers leaders at the show. They warned that dealership network contraction would reduce local choice and competition.
There was concern, too, that local workshop facilities could disappear when incomes improve and new product sales pick up.
"Machinery firms make a vital contribution to the rural economy, and provide skilled jobs in areas of high unemployment," said Bob Parry, president of the Farmers Union of Wales.
"Farmers want to make the necessary investment in equipment to be efficient, but they simply do not have the money.
"Ancillary industries will continue to suffer until incomes improve and interest rates fall. Sadly the government appears willing to see the infrastructure disintegrate, while rural businesses disappear."
Full show report p76. *