Poultry farmers need the 9% VAT rate on LPG gas and electricity to continue, says the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

The farm organisation’s poultry committee chair Nigel Sweetnam has called on Government to maintain the measure as part of its upcoming cost of living announcement.

The reduction from the 13.5% VAT rate to 9% was introduced on gas and electricity as part of the national energy security framework to secure supply last year, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Describing the reduced VAT rate as “critical” to maintaining poultry farmers’ margins, Sweetnam warned that if it was reversed, it would be “inflationary and could lead to significant cost increases for poultry farmers across the country”.

Sweetnam told the Irish Farmers Journal that the difference to poultry farmers between the two VAT rates represents €12 for every €1,000 of margin.

He described how carbon tax is now 2% of the cost of rearing a chicken.

“As a result, we believe it’s imperative that the Government retains the current 9% VAT rate on LPG gas to help alleviate the financial burden on poultry farmers.”

‘Vital role’

The IFA poultry chair highlighted that the sector plays a vital role in supplying high-quality and affordable food and warned that any unnecessary cost increases could have a significant impact on both the industry and the consumers who rely on its products.

“We urge the Government to consider the impact that this change could have and to take steps to support poultry farmers during these challenging times.

“By retaining the 9% VAT rate on LPG gas, the Government can help to ensure the sustainability of the poultry industry and safeguard the interests of consumers,” Sweetnam insisted.