“Tractor sales are increasing and are now running at in excess of 10% over last year. There is some way to go get to a long term viable market but the start of this year has marked an important turning point. Sales of other categories of machinery are also improving and there are real grounds for optimism.”
Mr. Daly accepted that conditions are still challenging and that rising agricultural commodity prices are probably not reflected in the level of increase in activity in the machinery trade but pointed out that the machinery industry is fortunate to be serving one of the few growth areas of the economy as well as one with a proven track record. The FTMTA President pointed out that there are probably many industries in the wider economy that would gladly swap places with the farm machinery sector at the moment.
“The modern Irish farmer is a careful professional in business for the long term and making the prudent decisions that will equip his farm business for long term viability. This customer will be around for the long haul and will need the services of our industry in the future.”
The President stated that it is incumbent on the Association to encourage the membership to engage in business in a way that will ensure a sustainable and professional farm machinery industry in the future.
“In our individual businesses we must do the things that best equip us for long term viability. In many ways our industry, having suffered such huge falls in sales, is starting from the ground up and we must seize this opportunity to rebuild our businesses in better ways.”
“The old ways of doing things must be gone forever in Ireland as a whole and also in our industry.”
Mr. Daly also reported that FTMTA continues to be active on a number of issues of concern to the membership. The changes in the registration procedures in the second half of 2010 caused much turmoil for dealers and the Association has done a lot of work with Revenue on this so far. As of now, arrangements are in place for those UK based importers who wish to do so to apply to be registered as distributors in Ireland for their brands which then allows them to create electronic birth certs and in turns allows the dealers to do on line registrations. According to the President some brands are further advanced with this than others but the same arrangements are available to all.
“There have been numerous technicalities in relation to T5 tractors, harvesters etc but so far we have been successful in overcoming these thanks to the co-operation of Revenue. When the changes were introduced at the end of August, FTMTA was successful in getting a waiver for farm machines from the requirement for physical examination at NCT centres. That waiver has been continued and will probably stay in place for another couple of months to allow the on line registration of new machines settle down. This has been a significant help to the trade and would not have been possible without a trade association working for the industry.”
The FTMTA President stated that in the longer term the waiver will be removed and machines that cannot be registered on line will have to under physical examination by the NCTS.
“We are still working on ways to ensure that this can be done with as little difficulty as possible but there is no point in saying other than this will be a more difficult process than the current or previous system. What we can do now is make it as easy as possible. It does seem likely that used harvesters will remain exempt from any type of examination and will be able to be registered on production of the required documents at an NCTS office.”
FTMTA is of the view that the tightening up in the area of registration, while causing some problems, is overall a good thing. The new procedures make it far more difficult for an individual to register a machine illegally imported without the payment of VAT and will also ensure that machines are registered with the correct age.
The President thanked his fellow members of the Executive Council for the time and effort they put into the service of the Association and the industry and concluded his address by stating that the FTMTA intend to continue the development of a top class organisation that is best positioned to provide the services required to support the industry into the future.