CSO released data for gross value added in agriculture for 2009-2011 yesterday - a set of data that reveals the final figures for the various sources of income in Irish agriculture. The good news is that in 2011 the subsidies junkies have managed (in part on foot of booming agricultural prices) to derive some net value added from their activities. The bad news is that ba far the Agricultural sector in Ireland remains unproductive.
The core figures are defined as follows:
- Net subsidies: Subsidies on products less taxes on products plus subsidies on production less taxes on production.
- GVA at basic prices = Operating surplus + Compensation of employees + Fixed capital consumption - Other subsidies less taxes on production
Thus, only in the South-West did 2011 net of tax subsidies cover less than 50% of the operating surplus. In Broder, Midland and Western region, net subsidies exceeded operating surplus.
Over the last 3 years:
- Value of the total output in Livestock nationwide rose from €2,225 million in 2009 to €2,281 million in 2010 and €2,665 million in 2011 - an increase for 2009-2011 of cumulative 19.8%
- Value of the total output in Livestock Products nationwide rose from €1,148 million in 2009 to €1,591 million in 2010 and €1,887 million in 2011 - an increase for 2009-2011 of cumulative 64.3%
- Value of the total output in Crops nationwide rose from €1,377 million in 2009 to €1,523 million in 2010 and €1,751 million in 2011 - an increase for 2009-2011 of cumulative 27.1%
- Value of the Total Goods Output in Agriculture nationwide rose from €4,751 million in 2009 to €5,395 million in 2010 and €6,303 million in 2011 - an increase for 2009-2011 of cumulative 32.7%
- However, there was also a 16.9% rise in Intermediate Consumption of inputs that went into supplying the above Total Goods Output in Agriculture, which rose from €4,185 million in 2009, to €4,302 million in 2010 and €4,890 million in 2011.
- At the same time, Net Subsidies (as defined above) rose only marginally - by 0.04% cumulative, from €1,813 million in 2009declining first to €1,649 million in 2010 and rising to €1,814 million in 2011.
- As the result of this, Operating Surplus in Irish Agriculture went from €1,446 million in 2009 to €1,841 million in 2010 and to €2,395 million in 2011, posting a cumulated rate of growth for 2009-2011 of 65.7%.
All of the above means that absent net subsidies, Irish Agriculture's contribution to the economy (net of costs) would have been: a loss of €367.4 million in 2009, a gain of €192.5 million in 2010 and a gain of €581.5 million in 2011. With a sector that has managed to add - out of its own activity - just €406.6 million to the economy cumulative over last 3 years, we have a lot of policy and marketing hoopla about the value of Ireland's Agriculture.
The table below summarizes inputs and outputs in the GVA calculation for Irish Agriculture:
Even taking into the account wages paid by and to Irish farmers, the overall Agriculture's importance to the economy is (on the net) minor. Oh, and above does not account for the cost of running the Department of Agriculture and other tax-related spending that effectively is an added cost to the taxpayers.