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%).
What a difference a year makes. In the football world, Leicester were languishing at the bottom of the English Premiership 12 months ago, now they look on the cusp of winning it. They have at least guaranteed a spot in Europe next year. Continue reading