Last year was a year of many surprises – Brexit, Trump, Leicester winning the English Premier League, and Ireland beating the All-Blacks in rugby are just some examples that come to mind. The Northern Ireland economy also enjoyed an unexpectedly positive year in 2016, with many record-breaking performances, including in the labour market. But the turnaround in the fortunes of the agriculture sector is perhaps even more startling. Continue reading
With Balmoral Show starting tomorrow, here’s a snapshot of some of the latest data on the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland.
In recent years, Northern Ireland’s agriculture sector had been outperforming all other sectors. After the Credit Crunch, whilst other sectors of the economy such as construction and manufacturing were struggling badly, the agri-food sector was in rude health, benefiting from favourable exchange rates as well as strong global demand. However over the last year, agriculture has been enduring a torrid time; indeed the most challenging conditions of all sectors. Total Income from Farming (TIFF) for instance is down 42 percent year on year and is now at its lowest level since 2006. Furthermore, TIFF is now almost 20 percent below the average of the last twenty years after accounting for inflation. Last year’s fall represented the steepest drop in farming incomes since the BSE crisis in 1998 (-56%).